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J Bacteriol. 1995 Jan;177(2):432-8.

Isolation and characterization of mutants defective in the cyanide-insensitive respiratory pathway of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine, London, United Kingdom.


The branched respiratory chain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa contains at least two terminal oxidases which are active under normal physiological conditions. One of these, cytochrome co, is a cytochrome c oxidase which is completely inhibited by concentrations of the respiratory inhibitor potassium cyanide as low as 100 microM. The second oxidase, the cyanide-insensitive oxidase, is resistant to cyanide concentrations in excess of 1 mM as well as to sodium azide. In this work, we describe the isolation and characterization of a mutant of P. aeruginosa defective in cyanide-insensitive respiration. This insertion mutant was isolated with mini-D171 (a replication-defective derivative of the P. aeruginosa phage D3112) as a mutagen and by screening the resulting tetracycline-resistant transductants for the loss of ability to grow in the presence of 1 mM sodium azide. Polarographic studies on the NADH-mediated respiration rate of the mutant indicated an approximate 50% loss of activity, and titration of this activity against increasing cyanide concentrations gave a monophasic curve clearly showing the complete loss of cyanide-insensitive respiration. The mutated gene for a mutant affected in the cyanide-insensitive, oxidase-terminated respiratory pathway has been designated cio. We have complemented the azide-sensitive phenotype of this mutant with a wild-type copy of the gene by in vivo cloning with another mini-D element, mini-D386, carried on plasmid pADD386. The complemented cio mutant regained the ability to grow on medium containing 1 mM azide, titration of its NADH oxidase activity with cyanide gave a biphasic curve similar to that of the wild-type organism, and the respiration rate returned to normal levels. Spectral analysis of the cytochrome contents of the membranes of the wild type, the cio mutant, and the complemented mutant suggests that the cio mutant is not defective in any membrane-bound cytochromes and that the complementing gene does not encode a heme protein.

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