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Mol Microbiol. 2000 Jan;35(1):123-38.

Novel Rhodobacter capsulatus genes required for the biogenesis of various c-type cytochromes.

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Department of Biology, Plant Science Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Following chemical mutagenesis and screening for the inability to grow by photosynthesis and the absence of cyt cbb3 oxidase activity, two c-type cytochrome (cyt)-deficient mutants, 771 and K2, of Rhodobacter capsulatus were isolated. Both mutants were completely deficient in all known c-type cyts, and could not be complemented by the previously known cyt c biogenesis genes of R. capsulatus. Complementation of 771 and K2 with a wild-type chromosomal library led to the identification of two novel genes, cycJ and ccdA respectively. The cycJ is highly homologous to ccmE/cycJ, encountered in various Gram-negative species. Unlike in other species, where cycJ is a part of an operon essential for cyt c biogenesis, in R. capsulatus, it is located immediately downstream from argC, involved in arginine biosynthesis. Mutation of its universally conserved histidine residue, which is critical for its proposed haem chaperoning role, to an alanine led to loss of its function. All R. capsulatus cycJ mutants studied so far excrete copious amounts of coproporphyrin and protoporphyrin when grown on enriched media, suggesting that its product is also a component of the haem delivery branch of cyt c biogenesis in this species. In contrast, the R. capsulatus ccdA was homologous to the cyt c biogenesis gene ccdA, found in the gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis, and to the central region of dipZ, encoding a protein disulphide reductase required for cyt c biogenesis in Escherichia coli. Membrane topology of CcdA was established in R. capsulatus using ccdA:phoA and ccdA :lacZ gene fusions. The deduced topology revealed that the two conserved cysteine residues of CcdA are, as predicted, membrane embedded. Mutagenesis of these cysteines showed that both are required for the function of CcdA in cyt c biogenesis. This study demonstrated for the first time that CcdA homologues are also required for cyt c biogenesis in some gram-negative bacteria such as R. capsulatus.

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