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Arch Microbiol. 2006 Nov;186(5):357-66. Epub 2006 Aug 22.

Importance of the DsrMKJOP complex for sulfur oxidation in Allochromatium vinosum and phylogenetic analysis of related complexes in other prokaryotes.

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Institut für Mikrobiologie und Biotechnologie, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Meckenheimer Allee 168, 53115 Bonn, Germany.


In the phototrophic sulfur bacterium Allochromatium vinosum, sulfur of oxidation state zero stored in intracellular sulfur globules is an obligate intermediate during the oxidation of sulfide and thiosulfate. The proteins encoded in the dissimilatory sulfite reductase (dsr) locus are essential for the oxidation of the stored sulfur. DsrMKJOP form a membrane-spanning complex proposed to accept electrons from or to deliver electrons to cytoplasmic sulfur-oxidizing proteins. In frame deletion mutagenesis showed that each individual of the complex-encoding genes is an absolute requirement for the oxidation of the stored sulfur in Alc. vinosum. Complementation of the DeltadsrJ mutant using the conjugative broad host range plasmid pBBR1-MCS2 and the dsr promoter was successful. The importance of the DsrMKJOP complex is underlined by the fact that the respective genes occur in all currently sequenced genomes of sulfur-forming bacteria such as Thiobacillus denitrificans and Chlorobaculum tepidum. Furthermore, closely related genes are present in the genomes of sulfate- and sulfite-reducing prokaryotes. A phylogenetic analysis showed that most dsr genes from sulfide oxidizers are clearly separated of those from sulfate reducers. Surprisingly, the dsrMKJOP genes of the Chlorobiaceae all cluster together with those of the sulfate/sulfite-reducing prokaryotes, indicating a lateral gene transfer at the base of the Chlorobiaceae.

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