Send to

Choose Destination
EcoSal Plus. 2008 Sep;3(1). doi: 10.1128/ecosal.3.2.5.

Respiration of Nitrate and Nitrite.


Nitrate reduction to ammonia via nitrite occurs widely as an anabolic process through which bacteria, archaea, and plants can assimilate nitrate into cellular biomass. Escherichia coli and related enteric bacteria can couple the eight-electron reduction of nitrate to ammonium to growth by coupling the nitrate and nitrite reductases involved to energy-conserving respiratory electron transport systems. In global terms, the respiratory reduction of nitrate to ammonium dominates nitrate and nitrite reduction in many electron-rich environments such as anoxic marine sediments and sulfide-rich thermal vents, the human gastrointestinal tract, and the bodies of warm-blooded animals. This review reviews the regulation and enzymology of this process in E. coli and, where relevant detail is available, also in Salmonella and draws comparisons with and implications for the process in other bacteria where it is pertinent to do so. Fatty acids may be present in high levels in many of the natural environments of E. coli and Salmonella in which oxygen is limited but nitrate is available to support respiration. In E. coli, nitrate reduction in the periplasm involves the products of two seven-gene operons, napFDAGHBC, encoding the periplasmic nitrate reductase, and nrfABCDEFG, encoding the periplasmic nitrite reductase. No bacterium has yet been shown to couple a periplasmic nitrate reductase solely to the cytoplasmic nitrite reductase NirB. The cytoplasmic pathway for nitrate reduction to ammonia is restricted almost exclusively to a few groups of facultative anaerobic bacteria that encounter high concentrations of environmental nitrate.


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Ingenta plc
Loading ...
Support Center