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J Gen Microbiol. 1993 Aug;139(8):1829-40.

Identification of the formate dehydrogenases and genetic determinants of formate-dependent nitrite reduction by Escherichia coli K12.

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School of Biochemistry, University of Birmingham, UK.


The formate dehydrogenases of Escherichia coli involved in electron transfer from formate to nitrite (Nrf activity: nitrite reduction by formate) have been identified. No previously undescribed selenoprotein was detected in bacteria grown under conditions optimal for the expression of Nrf activity. The Nrf activities of single mutants defective in either FdhN or FdhH were between 50 and 60% that of the parental strain. A double mutant defective in both FdhN and FdhH retained less than 10% of the activity of the FdhN+ FdhH+ strain. No Nrf activity was detected in a triple mutant defective in FdhN, FdhH and FdhO or in the selC strain. It is concluded that all three of the known formate dehydrogenases of E. coli can contribute to the transfer of electrons from formate to the Nrf pathway. Mutants defective in Nrf activity and cytochrome c552 synthesis were isolated by insertion mutagenesis or identified amongst strains received from the E. coli Genetic Stock Center. The mutations were located in at least three regions of the chromosome, including the 92 to 94 minute region which includes fdhF, the gene encoding FdhH required for formate hydrogenlyase activity. Fine structure mapping by P1 transduction established that the nrf mutations in the fdhF region were due to defects in three separable loci, all of which were independent of but close to fdhF. Clones were isolated from a cosmid library that complemented a deletion extending from fdhF into a region essential for Nrf activity. From these clones, plasmids were isolated that complemented only some of the Nrf- mutations in the 92 to 94 minute region, confirming the presence of different operons essential for Nrf activity and cytochrome c552 synthesis in this region. Suggested reasons for this genetic complexity include the need for proteins involved in electron transfer from the various formate dehydrogenases to cytochrome c552, for the attachment of the haem group to the apocytochrome and for cytochrome c552 export into the periplasm.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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