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J Bioenerg Biomembr. 1991 Apr;23(2):187-210.

C1 metabolism in Paracoccus denitrificans: genetics of Paracoccus denitrificans.

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Department of Microbiology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Paracoccus denitrificans is able to grow on the C1 compounds methanol and methylamine. These compounds are oxidized to formaldehyde which is subsequently oxidized via formate to carbon dioxide. Biomass is produced by carbon dioxide fixation via the ribulose biphosphate pathway. The first oxidation reaction is catalyzed by the enzymes methanol dehydrogenase and methylamine dehydrogenase, respectively. Both enzymes contain two different subunits in an alpha 2 beta 2 configuration. The genes encoding the subunits of methanol dehydrogenase (moxF and moxI) have been isolated and sequenced. They are located in one operon together with two other genes (moxJ and moxG) in the gene order moxFJGI. The function of the moxJ gene product is not yet known. MoxG codes for a cytochrome c551i, which functions as the electron acceptor of methanol dehydrogenase. Both methanol dehydrogenase and methylamine dehydrogenase contain PQQ as a cofactor. These so-called quinoproteins are able to catalyze redox reactions by one-electron steps. The reaction mechanism of this oxidation will be described. Electrons from the oxidation reaction are donated to the electron transport chain at the level of cytochrome c. P. denitrificans is able to synthesize at least 10 different c-type cytochromes. Five could be detected in the periplasm and five have been found in the cytoplasmic membrane. The membrane-bound cytochrome c1 and cytochrome c552 and the periplasmic-located cytochrome c550 are present under all tested growth conditions. The cytochromes c551i and c553i, present in the periplasm, are only induced in cells grown on methanol, methylamine, or choline. The other c-type cytochromes are mainly detected either under oxygen limited conditions or under anaerobic conditions with nitrate as electron acceptor or under both conditions. An overview including the induction pattern of all P. denitrificans c-type cytochromes will be given. The genes encoding cytochrome c1, cytochrome c550, cytochrome c551i, and cytochrome c553i have been isolated and sequenced. By using site-directed mutagenesis these genes were mutated in the genome. The mutants thus obtained were used to study electron transport during growth on C1 compounds. This electron transport has also been studied by determining electron transfer rates in in vitro experiments. The exact pathways, however, are not yet fully understood. Electrons from methanol dehydrogenase are donated to cytochrome c551i. Further electron transport is either via cytochrome c550 or cytochrome c553i to cytochrome aa3. However, direct electron transport from cytochrome c551i to the terminal oxidase might be possible as well.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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