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Gene. 1999 Oct 1;238(2):417-25.

Identification of a gene cluster, czr, involved in cadmium and zinc resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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Centre for Molecular Genetics, University of Karachi, Pakistan.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa CMG103 was isolated from a metal-polluted river in Pakistan and displayed a high level of Zn and Cd resistance. An omega-Km transposon mutant of strain CMG103, which showed a substantial decrease in resistance to Zn and Cd, was obtained. A 12.8 kb region determining Zn and Cd resistance in strain CM103 was cloned by complementing the mutant strain, and its nt sequence was determined. Five genes, czrSRCBA, involved in Zn and Cd resistance, were identified. The predicted gene products of czrCBA show a significant similarity with the proteins encoded by the plasmid borne metal resistant determinants czc, cnr and ncc of Ralstonia strains, which determine a chemiosmotic cation-antiporter efflux system. The predicted CzrS and CzrR proteins show a significant similarity to the sensor and regulatory protein, respectively, of two component regulatory systems, such as CopS/CopR and PcoS/PcoR involved in the regulation of plasmid-borne Cu-resistant determinants, and CzcS/CzcR involved in the regulation of czc. The cloned czr region contained downstream of czrCBA additional ORFs whose predicted gene products are similar to proteins involved in catabolism of aromatic compounds. DNA-DNA hybridization indicated strong conservation of czr in other environmental P. aeruginosa isolates and in the P. aeruginosa type strain PAO1, a clinical isolate. This was confirmed by a comparison of the sequence of the CMG103 czr region with the currently available genome sequence of strain PAO1. A high sequence identity (till 99% at the nt level) and organizatory conservation of the czr region of CMG103 was found in PAO1 as well regarding coding sequences as intervening sequences between ORFs. The czr locus was localized between coordinates 2400 and 2550 kb on the physical map of the chromosome of PAO1.

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