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J Bacteriol. 2000 Aug;182(15):4278-87.

A soxA gene, encoding a diheme cytochrome c, and a sox locus, essential for sulfur oxidation in a new sulfur lithotrophic bacterium.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Bose Institute, P-1/12, C. I. T. Scheme VII-M, Calcutta-700 054, India.


A mobilizable suicide vector, pSUP5011, was used to introduce Tn5-mob in a new facultative sulfur lithotrophic bacterium, KCT001, to generate mutants defective in sulfur oxidation (Sox(-)). The Sox(-) mutants were unable to oxidize thiosulfate while grown mixotrophically in the presence of thiosulfate and succinate. The mutants were also impaired in oxidizing other reduced sulfur compounds and elemental sulfur as evident from the study of substrate oxidation by the whole cells. Sulfite oxidase activity was significantly diminished in the cell extracts of all the mutants. A soxA gene was identified from the transposon-adjacent genomic DNA of a Sox(-) mutant strain. The sequence analysis revealed that the soxA open reading frame (ORF) is preceded by a potential ribosome binding site and promoter region with -10- and -35-like sequences. The deduced nucleotide sequence of the soxA gene was predicted to code for a protein of 286 amino acids. It had a signal peptide of 26 N-terminal amino acids. The amino acid sequence showed similarity with a putative gene product of Aquifex aeolicus, soluble cytochrome c(551) of Chlorobium limicola, and the available partial SoxA sequence of Paracoccus denitrificans. The soxA-encoded product seems to be a diheme cytochrome c for KCT001 and A. aeolicus, but the amino acid sequence of C. limicola cytochrome c(551) revealed a single heme-binding region. Another transposon insertion mutation was mapped within the soxA ORF. Four other independent transposon insertion mutations were mapped in the 4.4-kb soxA contiguous genomic DNA region. The results thus suggest that a sox locus of KCT001, essential for sulfur oxidation, was affected by all these six independent insertion mutations.

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