Identification and heterologous expression of genes involved in anaerobic dissimilatory phosphite oxidation by Desulfotignum phosphitoxidans.
ABSTRACT: Desulfotignum phosphitoxidans is a strictly anaerobic, Gram-negative bacterium that utilizes phosphite as the sole electron source for homoacetogenic CO2 reduction or sulfate reduction. A genomic library of D. phosphitoxidans, constructed using the fosmid vector pJK050, was screened for clones harboring the genes involved in phosphite oxidation via PCR using primers developed based on the amino acid sequences of phosphite-induced proteins. Sequence analysis of two positive clones revealed a putative operon of seven genes predicted to be involved in phosphite oxidation. Four of these genes (ptxD-ptdFCG) were cloned and heterologously expressed in Desulfotignum balticum, a related strain that cannot use phosphite as either an electron donor or as a phosphorus source. The ptxD-ptdFCG gene cluster was sufficient to confer phosphite uptake and oxidation ability to the D. balticum host strain but did not allow use of phosphite as an electron donor for chemolithotrophic growth. Phosphite oxidation activity was measured in cell extracts of D. balticum transconjugants, suggesting that all genes required for phosphite oxidation were cloned. Genes of the phosphite gene cluster were assigned putative functions on the basis of sequence analysis and enzyme assays.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The Delta-Proteobacterium Desulfotignum phosphitoxidans is a type strain of the genus Desulfotignum, which comprises to date only three species together with D. balticum and D. toluenicum. D. phosphitoxidans oxidizes phosphite to phosphate as its only source of electrons, with either sulfate or CO2 as electron acceptor to gain its metabolic energy, which is of exclusive interest. Sequencing of the genome of this bacterium was undertaken to elucidate the genomic basis of this so far unique type of energy metabolism. RESULTS: The genome contains 4,998,761 base pairs and 4646 genes of which 3609 were assigned to a function, and 1037 are without function prediction. Metabolic reconstruction revealed that most biosynthetic pathways of Gram negative, autotrophic sulfate reducers were present. Autotrophic CO2 assimilation proceeds through the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway. Additionally, we have found and confirmed the ability of the strain to couple phosphite oxidation to dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonia, which in itself is a new type of energy metabolism. Surprisingly, only two pathways for uptake, assimilation and utilization of inorganic and organic phosphonates were found in the genome. The unique for D. phosphitoxidans Ptx-Ptd cluster is involved in inorganic phosphite oxidation and an atypical C-P lyase-coding cluster (Phn) is involved in utilization of organophosphonates. CONCLUSIONS: We present the whole genome sequence of the first bacterium able to gain metabolic energy via phosphite oxidation. The data obtained provide initial information on the composition and architecture of the phosphite-utilizing and energy-transducing systems needed to live with phosphite as an unusual electron donor.
Project description:We report the 5.008-Mbp assembled draft genome sequence of Desulfotignum phosphitoxidans strain FiPS-3 (DSM 13687), which gains metabolic energy from the oxidation of phosphite to phosphate. Its genome provides insights into the composition and architecture of the phosphite-utilizing and energy-transducing systems required to live with phosphite as electron donor.
Project description:Enrichment was performed to isolate organisms that could utilize reduced phosphorus compounds as their sole phosphorus sources. One isolate that grew well with either hypophosphite or phosphite was identified by 16S rRNA gene analysis as a strain of Alcaligenes faecalis. The genes required for oxidation of hypophosphite and phosphite by this organism were identified by using transposon mutagenesis and include homologs of the ptxD and htxA genes of Pseudomonas stutzeri WM88, which encode an NAD-dependent phosphite dehydrogenase (PtxD) and 2-oxoglutarate-dependent hypophosphite dioxygenase (HtxA). This organism also has the htxB, htxC, and htxD genes that comprise an ABC-type transporter, presumably for hypophosphite and phosphite transport. The role of these genes in reduced phosphorus metabolism was confirmed by analyzing the growth of mutants in which these genes were deleted. Sequencing data showed that htxA, htxB, htxC, and htxD are virtually identical to their homologs in P. stutzeri at the DNA level, indicating that horizontal gene transfer occurred. However, A. faecalis ptxD is very different from its P. stutzeri homolog and represents a new ptxD lineage. Therefore, this gene has ancient evolutionary roots in bacteria. These data suggest that there is strong evolutionary selection for the ability of microorganisms to oxidize hypophosphite and phosphite.
Project description:Heterologous expression of the NAD+-dependent phosphite dehydrogenase (PTXD) bacterial enzyme from Pseudomonas stutzerii enables selective growth of transgenic organisms by using phosphite as sole phosphorous source. Combining phosphite fertilization with nuclear expression of the ptxD transgene was shown to be an alternative to herbicides in controlling weeds and contamination of algal cultures. Chloroplast expression of ptxD in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii was proposed as an environmentally friendly alternative to antibiotic resistance genes for plastid transformation. However, PTXD activity in the chloroplast is low, possibly due to the low NAD+/NADP+ ratio, limiting the efficiency of phosphite assimilation. We addressed the intrinsic constraints of the PTXD activity in the chloroplast and improved its catalytic efficiency in vivo via rational mutagenesis of key residues involved in cofactor binding. Transplastomic lines carrying a mutagenized PTXD version promiscuously used NADP+ and NAD+ for converting phosphite into phosphate and grew faster compared to those expressing the wild type protein. The modified PTXD enzyme also enabled faster and reproducible selection of transplastomic colonies by directly plating on phosphite-containing medium. These results allow using phosphite as selective agent for chloroplast transformation and for controlling biological contaminants when expressing heterologous proteins in algal chloroplasts, without compromising on culture performance.
Project description:The first molecular and genetic characterization of a biochemical pathway for oxidation of the reduced phosphorus (P) compounds phosphite and hypophosphite is reported. The pathway was identified in Pseudomonas stutzeri WM88, which was chosen for detailed studies from a group of organisms isolated based on their ability to oxidize hypophosphite (+1 valence) and phosphite (+3 valence) to phosphate (+5 valence). The genes required for oxidation of both compounds by P. stutzeri WM88 were cloned on a single ca. 30-kbp DNA fragment by screening for expression in Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Two lines of evidence suggest that hypophosphite is oxidized to phosphate via a phosphite intermediate. First, plasmid subclones that conferred oxidation of phosphite, but not hypophosphite, upon heterologous hosts were readily obtained. All plasmid subclones that failed to confer phosphite oxidation also failed to confer hypophosphite oxidation. No subclones that conferred only hypophosphite expression were obtained. Second, various deletion derivatives of the cloned genes were made in vitro and recombined onto the chromosome of P. stutzeri WM88. Two phenotypes were displayed by individual mutants. Mutants with the region encoding phosphite oxidation deleted (based upon the subcloning results) lost the ability to oxidize either phosphite or hypophosphite. Mutants with the region encoding hypophosphite oxidation deleted lost only the ability to oxidize hypophosphite. The phenotypes displayed by these mutants also demonstrate that the cloned genes are responsible for the P oxidation phenotypes displayed by the original P. stutzeri WM88 isolate. The DNA sequences of the minimal regions implicated in oxidation of each compound were determined. The region required for oxidation of phosphite to phosphate putatively encodes a binding-protein-dependent phosphite transporter, an NAD+-dependent phosphite dehydrogenase, and a transcriptional activator of the lysR family. The region required for oxidation of hypophosphite to phosphite putatively encodes a binding-protein-dependent hypophosphite transporter and an alpha-ketoglutarate-dependent hypophosphite dioxygenase. The finding of genes dedicated to oxidation of reduced P compounds provides further evidence that a redox cycle for P may be important in the metabolism of this essential, and often growth-limiting, nutrient.
Project description:On a global scale, crustal fluids fuel a large part of the deep-subseafloor biosphere by providing electron acceptors for microbial respiration. In this study, we examined bacterial cultures from sediments of the Juan de Fuca Ridge, Northeast Pacific (IODP Site U1301). The sediments comprise three distinctive compartments: an upper sulfate-containing zone, formed by bottom-seawater diffusion, a sulfate-depleted zone, and a second (?140?m thick) sulfate-containing zone influenced by fluid diffusion from the basaltic aquifer. In order to identify and characterize sulfate-reducing bacteria, enrichment cultures from different sediment layers were set up, analyzed by molecular screening, and used for isolating pure cultures. The initial enrichments harbored specific communities of heterotrophic microorganisms. Strains affiliated to Desulfosporosinus lacus, Desulfotomaculum sp., and Desulfovibrio aespoeensis were isolated only from the top layers (1.3-9.1?meters below seafloor, mbsf), while several strains of Desulfovibrio indonesiensis and a relative of Desulfotignum balticum were obtained from near-basement sediments (240-262?mbsf). Physiological tests on three selected strains affiliated to Dv. aespoeensis, Dv. indonesiensis, and Desulfotignum balticum indicated that all reduce sulfate with a limited number of short-chain n-alcohols or fatty acids and were able to ferment either ethanol, pyruvate, or betaine. All three isolates shared the capacity of growing chemolithotrophically with H(2) as sole electron donor. Strain P23, affiliating with Dv. indonesiensis, even grew autotrophically in the absence of any organic compounds. Thus, H(2) might be an essential electron donor in the deep-subseafloor where the availability of organic substrates is limited. The isolation of non-sporeforming sulfate reducers from fluid-influenced layers indicates that they have survived the long-term burial as active populations even after the separation from the seafloor hundreds of meters above.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Trichoderma species are among the most effective cell factories to produce recombinant proteins, whose productivity relies on the molecular toolkit and promoters available for the expression of the target protein. Although inducible promoter systems have been developed for producing recombinant proteins in Trichoderma, constitutive promoters are often a desirable alternative. Constitutive promoters are simple to use, do not require external stimuli or chemical inducers to be activated, and lead to purer enzyme preparations. Moreover, most of the promoters for homologous and heterologous expression reported in Trichoderma have been commonly evaluated by directly assessing production of industrial enzymes, requiring optimization of laborious protocols. RESULTS:Here we report the identification of Pccg6, a novel Trichoderma atroviride constitutive promoter, that has similar transcriptional strength as that of the commonly used pki1 promoter. Pccg6 displayed conserved arrangements of transcription factor binding sites between promoter sequences of Trichoderma ccg6 orthologues genes, potentially involved in their regulatory properties. The predicted ccg6-encoded protein potentially belongs to the SPE1/SPI1 protein family and shares high identity with CCG6 orthologue sequences from other fungal species including Trichoderma reesei, Trichoderma virens, Trichoderma asperellum, and to a lesser extent to that of Neurospora crassa. We also report the use of the Pccg6 promoter to drive the expression of PTXD, a phosphite oxidoreductase of bacterial origin, which allowed T. atroviride to utilize phosphite as a sole source of phosphorus. We propose ptxD as a growth reporter gene that allows real-time comparison of the functionality of different promoters by monitoring growth of Trichoderma transgenic lines and enzymatic activity of PTXD. Finally, we show that constitutive expression of ptxD provided T. atroviride a competitive advantage to outgrow bacterial contaminants when supplied with phosphite as a sole source of phosphorus. CONCLUSIONS:A new constitutive promoter, ccg6, for expression of homologous and heterologous proteins has been identified and tested in T. atroviride to express PTXD, which resulted in an effective and visible phenotype to evaluate transcriptional activity of sequence promoters. Use of PTXD as a growth marker holds great potential for assessing activity of other promoters and for biotechnological applications as a contamination control system.
Project description:Weeds, which have been the bane of agriculture since the beginning of civilization, are managed manually, mechanically, and, more recently, by chemicals. However, chemical control options are rapidly shrinking due to the recent rise in the number of herbicide-resistant weeds in crop fields, with few alternatives on the horizon. Therefore, there is an urgent need for alternative weed suppression systems to sustain crop productivity while reducing our dependence on herbicides and tillage. Such a development will also allay some of the negative perceptions associated with the use of herbicide-resistance genes and heavy dependence on herbicides. Transgenic plants expressing the bacterial phosphite dehydrogenase (ptxD) gene gain an ability to convert phosphite (Phi) into orthophosphate [Pi, the metabolizable form of phosphorus (P)]. Such plants allow for a selective fertilization scheme, based on Phi as the sole source of P for the crop, while offering an effective alternative for suppressing weed growth. Here, we show that, when P is supplied in the form of Phi, ptxD-expressing cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) plants outcompete, in both artificial substrates and natural soils from agricultural fields, three different monocot and dicot weed species intentionally introduced in the experiments, as well as weeds naturally present in the tested soils. Importantly, the ptxD/Phi system proved highly efficacious in inhibiting the growth of glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth. With over 250 weed species resistant to currently available herbicides, ptxD-transgenic plants fertilized with Phi could provide an effective alternative to suppressing the growth of these weeds while providing adequate nutrition to the crop.
Project description:The Guaymas Basin (Gulf of California) is a hydrothermal vent site where thermal alteration of deposited planktonic and terrestrial organic matter forms petroliferous material which supports diverse sulfate-reducing bacteria. We explored the phylogenetic and functional diversity of the sulfate-reducing bacteria by characterizing PCR-amplified dissimilatory sulfite reductase (dsrAB) and 16S rRNA genes from the upper 4 cm of the Guaymas sediment. The dsrAB sequences revealed that there was a major clade closely related to the acetate-oxidizing delta-proteobacterial genus Desulfobacter and a clade of novel, deeply branching dsr sequences related to environmental dsr sequences from marine sediments in Aarhus Bay and Kysing Fjord (Denmark). Other dsr clones were affiliated with gram-positive thermophilic sulfate reducers (genus Desulfotomaculum) and the delta-proteobacterial species Desulforhabdus amnigena and Thermodesulforhabdus norvegica. Phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNAs from the same environmental samples resulted in identification of four clones affiliated with Desulfobacterium niacini, a member of the acetate-oxidizing, nutritionally versatile genus Desulfobacterium, and one clone related to Desulfobacula toluolica and Desulfotignum balticum. Other bacterial 16S rRNA bacterial phylotypes were represented by non-sulfate reducers and uncultured lineages with unknown physiology, like OP9, OP8, as well as a group with no clear affiliation. In summary, analyses of both 16S rRNA and dsrAB clone libraries resulted in identification of members of the Desulfobacteriales in the Guaymas sediments. In addition, the dsrAB sequencing approach revealed a novel group of sulfate-reducing prokaryotes that could not be identified by 16S rRNA sequencing.