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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Feb 1;83(4). pii: e02689-16. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02689-16. Print 2017 Feb 15.

Arsenic Detoxification by Geobacter Species.

Author information

1
Department of Microbiology, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA.
2
Beijing Key Laboratory for Source Control Technology of Water Pollution, College of Environmental Science & Engineering, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing, China.
3
Department of Physical and Biological Sciences, Western New England University, Springfield, Massachusetts, USA.
4
Department of Microbiology, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA dholmes@wne.edu.

Abstract

Insight into the mechanisms for arsenic detoxification by Geobacter species is expected to improve the understanding of global cycling of arsenic in iron-rich subsurface sedimentary environments. Analysis of 14 different Geobacter genomes showed that all of these species have genes coding for an arsenic detoxification system (ars operon), and several have genes required for arsenic respiration (arr operon) and methylation (arsM). Genes encoding four arsenic repressor-like proteins were detected in the genome of G. sulfurreducens; however, only one (ArsR1) regulated transcription of the ars operon. Elimination of arsR1 from the G. sulfurreducens chromosome resulted in enhanced transcription of genes coding for the arsenic efflux pump (Acr3) and arsenate reductase (ArsC). When the gene coding for Acr3 was deleted, cells were not able to grow in the presence of either the oxidized or reduced form of arsenic, while arsC deletion mutants could grow in the presence of arsenite but not arsenate. These studies shed light on how Geobacter influences arsenic mobility in anoxic sediments and may help us develop methods to remediate arsenic contamination in the subsurface.

IMPORTANCE:

This study examines arsenic transformation mechanisms utilized by Geobacter, a genus of iron-reducing bacteria that are predominant in many anoxic iron-rich subsurface environments. Geobacter species play a major role in microbially mediated arsenic release from metal hydroxides in the subsurface. This release raises arsenic concentrations in drinking water to levels that are high enough to cause major health problems. Therefore, information obtained from studies of Geobacter should shed light on arsenic cycling in iron-rich subsurface sedimentary environments, which may help reduce arsenic-associated illnesses. These studies should also help in the development of biosensors that can be used to detect arsenic contaminants in anoxic subsurface environments. We examined 14 different Geobacter genomes and found that all of these species possess genes coding for an arsenic detoxification system (ars operon), and some also have genes required for arsenic respiration (arr operon) and arsenic methylation (arsM).

KEYWORDS:

Geobacter; ars operon; arsenic; detoxification; genetics; iron reduction; transcriptomics

PMID:
27940542
PMCID:
PMC5288829
DOI:
10.1128/AEM.02689-16
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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