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J Bacteriol. 1997 Aug;179(16):5014-23.

Cloning and characterization of sulfite dehydrogenase, two c-type cytochromes, and a flavoprotein of Paracoccus denitrificans GB17: essential role of sulfite dehydrogenase in lithotrophic sulfur oxidation.

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  • 1Lehrstuhl für Technische Mikrobiologie, Fachbereich Chemietechnik, Universität Dortmund, Germany.


A 13-kb genomic region of Paracoccus dentrificans GB17 is involved in lithotrophic thiosulfate oxidation. Adjacent to the previously reported soxB gene (C. Wodara, S. Kostka, M. Egert, D. P. Kelly, and C. G. Friedrich, J. Bacteriol. 176:6188-6191, 1994), 3.7 kb were sequenced. Sequence analysis revealed four additional open reading frames, soxCDEF. soxC coded for a 430-amino-acid polypeptide with an Mr of 47,339 that included a putative signal peptide of 40 amino acids (Mr of 3,599) with a RR motif present in periplasmic proteins with complex redox centers. The mature soxC gene product exhibited high amino acid sequence similarity to the eukaryotic molybdoenzyme sulfite oxidase and to nitrate reductase. We constructed a mutant, GBsoxC delta, carrying an in-frame deletion in soxC which covered a region possibly coding for the molybdenum cofactor binding domain. GBsoxC delta was unable to grow lithoautotrophically with thiosulfate but grew well with nitrate as a nitrogen source or as an electron acceptor. Whole cells and cell extracts of mutant GBsoxC delta contained 10% of the thiosulfate-oxidizing activity of the wild type. Only a marginal rate of sulfite-dependent cytochrome c reduction was observed from cell extracts of mutant GBsoxC delta. These results demonstrated that sulfite dehydrogenase was essential for growth with thiosulfate of P. dentrificans GB17. soxD coded for a periplasmic diheme c-type cytochrome of 384 amino acids (Mr of 39,983) containing a putative signal peptide with an Mr of 2,363. soxE coded for a periplasmic monoheme c-type cytochrome of 236 amino acids (Mr of 25,926) containing a putative signal peptide with an Mr of 1,833. SoxD and SoxE were highly identical to c-type cytochromes of P. denitrificans and other organisms. soxF revealed an incomplete open reading frame coding for a peptide of 247 amino acids with a putative signal peptide (Mr of 2,629). The deduced amino acid sequence of soxF was 47% identical and 70% similar to the sequence of the flavoprotein of flavocytochrome c of Chromatium vinosum, suggesting the involvement of the flavoprotein in thiosulfate oxidation of P. denitrificans GB17.

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