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J Bacteriol. 1997 Dec;179(24):7617-24.

Characterization of genes encoding dimethyl sulfoxide reductase of Rhodobacter sphaeroides 2.4.1T: an essential metabolic gene function encoded on chromosome II.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, The University of Texas Health Science Center Medical School, Houston 77030, USA.


Rhodobacter sphaeroides 2.4.1T is a purple nonsulfur facultative phototrophic bacterium which exhibits remarkable metabolic diversity as well as genomic complexity. Under anoxic conditions, in the absence of light and the presence of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) or trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), R. sphaeroides 2.4.1T utilizes DMSO or TMAO as the terminal electron acceptor for anaerobic respiration, which is mediated by the molybdoenzyme DMSO reductase. Sequencing of a 13-kb region of chromosome II revealed the presence of 10 putative open reading frames, of which 5 possess homology to genes encoding the TMAO reductase (the tor system) of Escherichia coli. The dorS and dorR genes encode a sensor-regulator pair of the two-component sensory transduction protein family, homologous to the torS and torR gene products. The dorC gene was shown to encode a 44-kDa DMSO-inducible c-type cytochrome. The dorB gene encodes a membrane protein of unknown function homologous to the torD gene product. The dorA gene encodes DMSO reductase, containing the molybdopterin active site. Mutations were constructed in each of these dor genes, and the resulting mutants were shown to be impaired for DMSO-dependent anaerobic growth in the dark. The mutant strains exhibited negligible levels of DMSO reductase activity compared to the wild-type strain under similar growth conditions. Further, no DorA protein was detected in DorS and DorR mutant strains with anti-DorA antisera, suggesting that the products of these genes are required for the positive regulation of dor expression in response to DMSO. This characterization of the dor gene cluster is the first evidence that genes of chromosome CII encode metabolic functions which are essential under particular growth conditions.

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