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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1999 Nov 1;180(1):21-9.

The amo operon in marine, ammonia-oxidizing gamma-proteobacteria.

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Department of Plants, Soils and Biometeorology, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-4820, USA.


While there is an extensive database of genes encoding ammonia monooxygenase (amo) found in the ammonia-oxidizing beta-proteobacteria, few amo sequences are available representing the gamma-proteobacteria. We sequenced the complete amo operon (amoCAB) for Nitrosococcus oceani (ATCC 19707), a marine, autotrophic, ammonia-oxidizing bacterium belonging to the gamma-subdivision of the proteobacteria. An additional autotrophic, ammonia-oxidizing bacterium isolated from a marine environment (strain C-113) was identified as belonging to the Nitrosococcus genus by 16S rDNA analysis and its amo operon was sequenced. This is the first report of a full-length sequence for the amo operon from a gamma-subdivision autotrophic ammonia-oxidizing bacterium. The N. oceani and C-113 amo genes were 88-90% identical to each other, 49-53% identical to the pmo genes encoding the related particulate methane monooxygenase of Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath), and 39-42% identical to the amo genes of the beta-subdivision autotrophic ammonia-oxidizing bacteria. In both Nitrosococcus strains, the amo operon was found as a single copy and contained three genes, amoC, amoA, amoB, with intergenic spacer regions between amoC and amoA (286 bp) and between amoA and amoB (65 bp). We conclude that the amo genes will allow for a finer scale phylogenetic differentiation than 16S rDNA within the gamma-subdivision AOB.

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