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Methods Enzymol. 2011;486:131-52. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-381294-0.00006-7.

Surveying N2O-producing pathways in bacteria.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


Nitrous oxide (N(2)O) is produced by bacteria as an intermediate of both dissimilatory and detoxification pathways under a range of oxygen levels, although the majority of N(2)O is released in suboxic to anoxic environments. N(2)O production under physiologically relevant conditions appears to require the reduction of nitric oxide (NO) produced from the oxidation of hydroxylamine (nitrification), reduction of nitrite (denitrification), or by host cells of pathogenic bacteria. In a single bacterial isolate, N(2)O-producing pathways can be complex, overlapping, involve multiple enzymes with the same function, and require multiple layers of regulatory machinery. This overview discusses how to identify known N(2)O-producing inventory and regulatory sequences within bacterial genome sequences and basic physiological approaches for investigating the function of that inventory. A multitude of review articles have been published on individual enzymes, pathways, regulation, and environmental significance of N(2)O-production encompassing a large diversity of bacterial isolates. The combination of next-generation deep sequencing platforms, emerging proteomics technologies, and basic microbial physiology can be used to expand what is known about N(2)O-producing pathways in individual bacterial species to discover novel inventory and unifying features of pathways. A combination of approaches is required to understand and generalize the function and control of N(2)O production across a range of temporal and spatial scales within natural and host environments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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