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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Jan;72(1):695-701.

Involvement of NarK1 and NarK2 proteins in transport of nitrate and nitrite in the denitrifying bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1.

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Department of Biology, University of Dayton, 300 College Park, Dayton, OH 45469-2320, USA.

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  • Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 May;72(5):3802.


Two transmembrane proteins were tentatively classified as NarK1 and NarK2 in the Pseudomonas genome project and hypothesized to play an important physiological role in nitrate/nitrite transport in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The narK1 and narK2 genes are located in a cluster along with the structural genes for the nitrate reductase complex. Our studies indicate that the transcription of all these genes is initiated from a single promoter and that the gene complex narK1K2GHJI constitutes an operon. Utilizing an isogenic narK1 mutant, a narK2 mutant, and a narK1K2 double mutant, we explored their effect on growth under denitrifying conditions. While the DeltanarK1::Gm mutant was only slightly affected in its ability to grow under denitrification conditions, both the DeltanarK2::Gm and DeltanarK1K2::Gm mutants were found to be severely restricted in nitrate-dependent, anaerobic growth. All three strains demonstrated wild-type levels of nitrate reductase activity. Nitrate uptake by whole-cell suspensions demonstrated both the DeltanarK2::Gm and DeltanarK1K2::Gm mutants to have very low yet different nitrate uptake rates, while the DeltanarK1::Gm mutant exhibited wild-type levels of nitrate uptake. Finally, Escherichia coli narK rescued both the DeltanarK2::Gm and DeltanarK1K2::Gm mutants with respect to anaerobic respiratory growth. Our results indicate that only the NarK2 protein is required as a nitrate/nitrite transporter by Pseudomonas aeruginosa under denitrifying conditions.

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