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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1989 Nov;55(11):2924-31.

Immunological identification and distribution of dissimilatory heme cd1 and nonheme copper nitrite reductases in denitrifying bacteria.

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  • 1Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824-1325.


Polyclonal antibodies were used to identify heme or copper nitrite reductases in the following groups: 23 taxonomically diverse denitrifiers from culture collections, 100 numerically dominant denitrifiers from geographically diverse environments, and 51 denitrifiers from a culture collection not selected for denitrification. Antisera were raised against heme nitrite reductases from Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Pseudomonas stutzeri and against copper nitrite reductase from Achromobacter cycloclastes. Nitrite reductases were identified by Western immunoblot. Diethyldithiocarbamate, which specifically inhibits copper nitrite reductases, was used to confirm the immunological characterization and determine which type was present in strains nonreactive with any antiserum. For groups in which the type of nitrite reductase has not been previously described, we found that Alcaligenes eutrophus, Bacillus azotoformans, Bradyrhizobium japonicum, Corynebacterium nephridii, and Rhizobium spp. contained copper nitrite reductase, while Aquaspirillum itersonii, Flavobacterium spp., and Pseudomonas fluorescens contained heme nitrite reductase. Heme nitrite reductases dominated, regardless of soil type or geographic origin. They occurred in 64 and 92%, respectively, of denitrifiers in the numerically dominant and nonselected collections. The two nitrite reductase types were mutually exclusive in individual bacteria, but both appeared in different strains from the Alcaligenes and Pseudomonas genera. The heme type predominated in Pseudomonas strains. The heme-type nitrite reductase appeared more conserved if judged by similarities in molecular weights and immunological reactions. The Cu type was found in more taxonomically unrelated strains and varied in molecular weight and antiserum recognition.

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