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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2007 Jun;75(4):889-97. Epub 2007 Mar 9.

Anaerobic growth of Corynebacterium glutamicum using nitrate as a terminal electron acceptor.

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Microbiology Research Group, Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth, 9-2 Kizugawadai, Kizu-cho, Soraku-gun, Kyoto 619-0292, Japan.


Corynebacterium glutamicum, a gram-positive soil bacterium, has been regarded as an aerobe because its growth by fermentative catabolism or by anaerobic respiration has, to this date, not been demonstrated. In this study, we report on the anaerobic growth of C. glutamicum in the presence of nitrate as a terminal electron acceptor. C. glutamicum strains R and ATCC13032 consumed nitrate and excreted nitrite during growth under anaerobic, but not aerobic, conditions. This was attributed to the presence of a narKGHJI gene cluster with high similarity to the Escherichia coli narK gene and narGHJI operon. The gene encodes a nitrate/nitrite transporter, whereas the operon encodes a respiratory nitrate reductase. Transposonal inactivation of C. glutamicum narG or narH resulted in mutants with impaired anaerobic growth on nitrate because of their inability to convert nitrate to nitrite. Further analysis revealed that in C. glutamicum, narK and narGHJI are cotranscribed as a single narKGHJI operon, the expression of which is activated under anaerobic conditions in the presence of nitrate. C. glutamicum is therefore a facultative anaerobe.

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