STUDIES ON THE OXIDATION OF AMMONIA BY NITROSOMONAS.
ABSTRACT: 1. Free-energy calculations for pH7 showed that the oxidation of ammonia to hydroxylamine is endergonic and that the oxidations of hydroxylamine to nitrite and hydrazine to nitrogen are exergonic. It is suggested that the oxidation of ammonia requires the expenditure of energy. 2. The anaerobic dehydrogenation of hydrazine to nitrogen by extracts of the autotrophic nitrifying micro-organism, Nitrosomonas, in the presence of methylene blue as electron acceptor, was less rapid than the anaerobic dehydrogenation of hydroxylamine to nitric oxide. The inhibition by hydrazine of the dehydrogenation of hydroxylamine was attributed to substrate competition. 3. Whole cells in air did not produce nitrite from hydrazine. They produced nitrite from low concentrations of hydroxylamine more rapidly than from equimolar concentrations of ammonia; this result is consistent if hydroxylamine is an intermediate of the oxidation of ammonia. 4. The production of nitrite from hydroxylamine by whole cells was slightly inhibited by hydrazine, but the production of nitrite from ammonia was greatly inhibited and small amounts of hydroxylamine were formed. These results suggested that the dehydrogenation of hydroxylamine supplied energy required for the oxidation of ammonia and that hydroxylamine appeared because the energy production was replaced by that of the dehydrogenation of hydrazine. 5. The oxidation of hydroxylamine by whole cells was not inhibited by thiourea, but micromolar concentrations of the metal-binding agent markedly inhibited the oxidation of ammonia to hydroxylamine, suggesting that the oxidation of ammonia involved copper. A possible mechanism for the activation of ammonia is suggested.
Project description:1. Cells of Nitrosomonas europaea produced N(2)O during the oxidation of ammonia and hydroxylamine. 2. The end-product of ammonia oxidation, nitrite, was the predominant source of N(2)O in cells. 3. Cells also produced N(2)O, but not N(2) gas, by the reduction of nitrite under anaerobic conditions. 4. Hydroxylamine was oxidized by cell-free extracts to yield nitrite and N(2)O aerobically, but to yield N(2)O and NO anaerobically. 5. Cell extracts reduced nitrite both aerobically and anaerobically to NO and N(2)O with hydroxylamine as an electron donor. 6. The relative amounts of NO and N(2)O produced during hydroxylamine oxidation and/or nitrite reduction are dependent on the type of artificial electron acceptor utilized. 7. Partially purified hydroxylamine oxidase retained nitrite reductase activity but cytochrome oxidase was absent. 8. There is a close association of hydroxylamine oxidase and nitrite reductase activities in purified preparations.
Project description:Aerobic and nitrite-dependent methanotrophs make a living from oxidizing methane via methanol to carbon dioxide. In addition, these microorganisms cometabolize ammonia due to its structural similarities to methane. The first step in both of these processes is catalyzed by methane monooxygenase, which converts methane or ammonia into methanol or hydroxylamine, respectively. Methanotrophs use methanol for energy conservation, whereas toxic hydroxylamine is a potent inhibitor that needs to be rapidly removed. It is suggested that many methanotrophs encode a hydroxylamine oxidoreductase (mHAO) in their genome to remove hydroxylamine, although biochemical evidence for this is lacking. HAOs also play a crucial role in the metabolism of aerobic and anaerobic ammonia oxidizers by converting hydroxylamine to nitric oxide (NO). Here, we purified an HAO from the thermophilic verrucomicrobial methanotroph <i>Methylacidiphilum fumariolicum</i> SolV and characterized its kinetic properties. This mHAO possesses the characteristic P<sub>460</sub> chromophore and is active up to at least 80 °C. It catalyzes the rapid oxidation of hydroxylamine to NO. In methanotrophs, mHAO efficiently removes hydroxylamine, which severely inhibits calcium-dependent, and as we show here, lanthanide-dependent methanol dehydrogenases, which are more prevalent in the environment. Our results indicate that mHAO allows methanotrophs to thrive under high ammonia concentrations in natural and engineered ecosystems, such as those observed in rice paddy fields, landfills, or volcanic mud pots, by preventing the accumulation of inhibitory hydroxylamine. Under oxic conditions, methanotrophs mainly oxidize ammonia to nitrite, whereas in hypoxic and anoxic environments reduction of both ammonia-derived nitrite and NO could lead to nitrous oxide (N<sub>2</sub>O) production.
Project description:The biological nitrogen cycle is driven by a plethora of reactions transforming nitrogen compounds between various redox states. Here, we investigated the metagenomic potential for nitrogen cycle of the in situ microbial community in an oligotrophic, brackish environment of the Bothnian Sea sediment. Total DNA from three sediment depths was isolated and sequenced. The characterization of the total community was performed based on 16S rRNA gene inventory using SILVA database as reference. The diversity of diagnostic functional genes coding for nitrate reductases (napA;narG), nitrite:nitrate oxidoreductase (nxrA), nitrite reductases (nirK;nirS;nrfA), nitric oxide reductase (nor), nitrous oxide reductase (nosZ), hydrazine synthase (hzsA), ammonia monooxygenase (amoA), hydroxylamine oxidoreductase (hao), and nitrogenase (nifH) was analyzed by blastx against curated reference databases. In addition, Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based amplification was performed on the hzsA gene of anammox bacteria. Our results reveal high genomic potential for full denitrification to N2 , but minor importance of anaerobic ammonium oxidation and dissimilatory nitrite reduction to ammonium. Genomic potential for aerobic ammonia oxidation was dominated by Thaumarchaeota. A higher diversity of anammox bacteria was detected in metagenomes than with PCR-based technique. The results reveal the importance of various N-cycle driving processes and highlight the advantage of metagenomics in detection of novel microbial key players.
Project description:Anaerobic ammonium-oxidizing (anammox) bacteria derive their energy for growth from the oxidation of ammonium with nitrite as the electron acceptor. N2, the end product of this metabolism, is produced from the oxidation of the intermediate, hydrazine (N2H4). Previously, we identified N2-producing hydrazine dehydrogenase (KsHDH) from the anammox organism Kuenenia stuttgartiensis as the gene product of kustc0694 and determined some of its catalytic properties. In the genome of K. stuttgartiensis, kustc0694 is one of 10 paralogs related to octaheme hydroxylamine (NH2OH) oxidoreductase (HAO). Here, we characterized KsHDH as a covalently cross-linked homotrimeric octaheme protein as found for HAO and HAO-related hydroxylamine-oxidizing enzyme kustc1061 from K. stuttgartiensis Interestingly, the HDH trimers formed octamers in solution, each octamer harboring an amazing 192 c-type heme moieties. Whereas HAO and kustc1061 are capable of hydrazine oxidation as well, KsHDH was highly specific for this activity. To understand this specificity, we performed detailed amino acid sequence analyses and investigated the catalytic and spectroscopic (electronic absorbance, EPR) properties of KsHDH in comparison with the well defined HAO and kustc1061. We conclude that HDH specificity is most likely derived from structural changes around the catalytic heme 4 (P460) and of the electron-wiring circuit comprising seven His/His-ligated c-type hemes in each subunit. These nuances make HDH a globally prominent N2-producing enzyme, next to nitrous oxide (N2O) reductase from denitrifying microorganisms.
Project description:Ammonia (NH3)-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) emit substantial amounts of nitric oxide (NO) and nitrous oxide (N2O), both of which contribute to the harmful environmental side effects of large-scale agriculture. The currently accepted model for AOB metabolism involves NH3 oxidation to nitrite (NO2-) via a single obligate intermediate, hydroxylamine (NH2OH). Within this model, the multiheme enzyme hydroxylamine oxidoreductase (HAO) catalyzes the four-electron oxidation of NH2OH to NO2- We provide evidence that HAO oxidizes NH2OH by only three electrons to NO under both anaerobic and aerobic conditions. NO2- observed in HAO activity assays is a nonenzymatic product resulting from the oxidation of NO by O2 under aerobic conditions. Our present study implies that aerobic NH3 oxidation by AOB occurs via two obligate intermediates, NH2OH and NO, necessitating a mediator of the third enzymatic step.
Project description:1. Enzyme systems from Cucurbita pepo have been shown to catalyse the reduction of nitrite and hydroxylamine to ammonia in yields about 90-100%. 2. Reduced benzyl viologen serves as an efficient electron donor for both systems. Activity of the nitrite-reductase system is directly related to degree of dye reduction when expressed in terms of the function for oxidation-reduction potentials, but appears to decrease to negligible activity below about 9% dye reduction. 3. NADH and NADPH alone produce negligible nitrite loss, but NADPH can be linked to an endogenous diaphorase system to reduce nitrite to ammonia in the presence of catalytic amounts of benzyl viologen. 4. The NADH- or NADPH-nitrate-reductase system that is also present can accept electrons from reduced benzyl viologen, but shows relationships opposite to that for the nitrite-reductase system with regard to effect of degree of dye reduction on activity. The product of nitrate reduction may be nitrite alone, or nitrite and ammonia, or ammonia alone, according only to the degree of dye reduction. 5. The relative activities of nitrite-reductase and hydroxylamine-reductase systems show different relationships with degree of dye reduction and may become reversed in magnitude when effects of degree of dye reduction are tested over a suitable range. 6. Nitrite severely inhibits the rate of reduction of hydroxylamine without affecting the yield of ammonia as a percentage of total substrate loss, but hydroxylamine has a negligible effect on the activity of the nitrite-reductase system. 7. The apparent K(m) for nitrite (1 mum) is substantially less than that for hydroxylamine, for which variable values between 0.05 and 0.9mm (mean 0.51 mm) have been observed. 8. The apparent K(m) values for reduced benzyl viologen differ for the nitrite-reductase and hydroxylamine-reductase systems: 60 and 7.5 mum respectively. 9. It is concluded that free hydroxylamine may not be an intermediate in the reduction of nitrite to ammonia by plants, and a possible mechanism for reduction of both compounds by the same enzyme system is discussed in the light of current ideas relating to other organisms.
Project description:The ammonia-oxidizing archaea have recently been recognized as a significant component of many microbial communities in the biosphere. Although the overall stoichiometry of archaeal chemoautotrophic growth via ammonia (NH(3)) oxidation to nitrite (NO(2)(-)) is superficially similar to the ammonia-oxidizing bacteria, genome sequence analyses point to a completely unique biochemistry. The only genomic signature linking the bacterial and archaeal biochemistries of NH(3) oxidation is a highly divergent homolog of the ammonia monooxygenase (AMO). Although the presumptive product of the putative AMO is hydroxylamine (NH(2)OH), the absence of genes encoding a recognizable ammonia-oxidizing bacteria-like hydroxylamine oxidoreductase complex necessitates either a novel enzyme for the oxidation of NH(2)OH or an initial oxidation product other than NH(2)OH. We now show through combined physiological and stable isotope tracer analyses that NH(2)OH is both produced and consumed during the oxidation of NH(3) to NO(2)(-) by Nitrosopumilus maritimus, that consumption is coupled to energy conversion, and that NH(2)OH is the most probable product of the archaeal AMO homolog. Thus, despite their deep phylogenetic divergence, initial oxidation of NH(3) by bacteria and archaea appears mechanistically similar. They however diverge biochemically at the point of oxidation of NH(2)OH, the archaea possibly catalyzing NH(2)OH oxidation using a novel enzyme complex.
Project description:Nitrification, the oxidation of ammonia via nitrite to nitrate, has always been considered to be a two-step process catalysed by chemolithoautotrophic microorganisms oxidizing either ammonia or nitrite. No known nitrifier carries out both steps, although complete nitrification should be energetically advantageous. This functional separation has puzzled microbiologists for a century. Here we report on the discovery and cultivation of a completely nitrifying bacterium from the genus Nitrospira, a globally distributed group of nitrite oxidizers. The genome of this chemolithoautotrophic organism encodes the pathways both for ammonia and nitrite oxidation, which are concomitantly activated during growth by ammonia oxidation to nitrate. Genes affiliated with the phylogenetically distinct ammonia monooxygenase and hydroxylamine dehydrogenase genes of Nitrospira are present in many environments and were retrieved on Nitrospira-contigs in new metagenomes from engineered systems. These findings fundamentally change our picture of nitrification and point to completely nitrifying Nitrospira as key components of nitrogen-cycling microbial communities.
Project description:Complete ammonia oxidation (comammox) to nitrate by certain Nitrospira-lineage bacteria (CMX) could contribute to overall nitrogen cycling in engineered biological nitrogen removal (BNR) processes in addition to the more well-documented nitrogen transformations by ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB), nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB), and anaerobic ammonia-oxidizing (anammox) bacteria (AMX). A metagenomic survey was conducted to quantify the presence and elucidate the potential functionality of CMX in 16 full-scale BNR configurations treating mainstream or sidestream wastewater. CMX proposed to date were combined with previously published AOB, NOB, and AMX genomes to create an expanded database for alignment of metagenomic reads. CMX-assigned metagenomic reads accounted for between 0.28 and 0.64% of total coding DNA sequences in all BNR configurations. Phylogenetic analysis of key nitrification functional genes amoA, encoding the ?-subunit of ammonia monooxygenase, haoB, encoding the ?-subunit of hydroxylamine oxidoreductase, and nxrB, encoding the ?-subunit of nitrite oxidoreductase, confirmed that each BNR system contained coding regions for production of these enzymes by CMX specifically. Ultimately, the ubiquitous presence of CMX bacteria and metabolic functionality in such diverse system configurations emphasizes the need to translate novel bacterial transformations to engineered biological process interrogation, operation, and design.
Project description:Aerobic ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) play a crucial role in the global nitrogen cycle by oxidizing ammonia to nitrite, and nitric oxide (NO) is a key intermediate in AOA for sustaining aerobic ammonia oxidation activity. We herein heterologously expressed the NO-forming, copper-containing, dissimilatory nitrite reductase (NirK) from Nitrososphaera viennensis and investigated its enzymatic properties. The recombinant protein catalyzed the reduction of 15NO2- to 15NO, the oxidation of hydroxylamine (15NH2OH) to 15NO, and the production of 14-15N2O from 15NH2OH and 14NO2-. To the best of our knowledge, the present study is the first to document the enzymatic properties of AOA NirK.