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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Mar 21;103(12):4669-74. Epub 2006 Mar 14.

Extracellular respiration of dimethyl sulfoxide by Shewanella oneidensis strain MR-1.

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Divisions of Geological and Planetary Sciences and Biology, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.


Shewanella species are renowned for their respiratory versatility, including their ability to respire poorly soluble substrates by using enzymatic machinery that is localized to the outside of the cell. The ability to engage in "extracellular respiration" to date has focused primarily on respiration of minerals. Here, we identify two gene clusters in Shewanella oneidensis strain MR-1 that each contain homologs of genes required for metal reduction and genes that are predicted to encode dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) reductase subunits. Molecular and genetic analyses of these clusters indicate that one (SO1427-SO1432) is required for anaerobic respiration of DMSO. We show that DMSO respiration is an extracellular respiratory process through the analysis of mutants defective in type II secretion, which is required for transporting proteins to the outer membrane in Shewanella. Moreover, immunogold labeling of DMSO reductase subunits reveals that they reside on the outer leaflet of the outer membrane under anaerobic conditions. The extracellular localization of the DMSO reductase in S. oneidensis suggests these organisms may perceive DMSO in the environment as an insoluble compound.

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