Metabolic primers for detection of (Per)chlorate-reducing bacteria in the environment and phylogenetic analysis of cld gene sequences.
ABSTRACT: Natural attenuation of the environmental contaminant perchlorate is a cost-effective alternative to current removal methods. The success of natural perchlorate remediation is dependent on the presence and activity of dissimilatory (per)chlorate-reducing bacteria (DPRB) within a target site. To detect DPRB in the environment, two degenerate primer sets targeting the chlorite dismutase (cld) gene were developed and optimized. A nested PCR approach was used in conjunction with these primer sets to increase the sensitivity of the molecular detection method. Screening of environmental samples indicated that all products amplified by this method were cld gene sequences. These sequences were obtained from pristine sites as well as contaminated sites from which DPRB were isolated. More than one cld phylotype was also identified from some samples, indicating the presence of more than one DPRB strain at those sites. The use of these primer sets represents a direct and sensitive molecular method for the qualitative detection of (per)chlorate-reducing bacteria in the environment, thus offering another tool for monitoring natural attenuation. Sequences of cld genes isolated in the course of this project were also generated from various DPRB and provided the first opportunity for a phylogenetic treatment of this metabolic gene. Comparisons of the cld and 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) gene trees indicated that the cld gene does not track 16S rDNA phylogeny, further implicating the possible role of horizontal transfer in the evolution of (per)chlorate respiration.
Project description:A novel dissimilatory perchlorate-reducing bacterium (DPRB), Arcobacter sp. strain CAB, was isolated from a marina in Berkeley, CA. Phylogenetically, this halophile was most closely related to Arcobacter defluvii strain SW30-2 and Arcobacter ellisii. With acetate as the electron donor, strain CAB completely reduced perchlorate (ClO4(-)) or chlorate (ClO3(-)) [collectively designated (per)chlorate] to innocuous chloride (Cl(-)), likely using the perchlorate reductase (Pcr) and chlorite dismutase (Cld) enzymes. When grown with perchlorate, optimum growth was observed at 25 to 30°C, pH 7, and 3% NaCl. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) preparations were dominated by free-swimming straight rods with 1 to 2 polar flagella per cell. Strain CAB utilized a variety of organic acids, fructose, and hydrogen as electron donors coupled to (per)chlorate reduction. Further, under anoxic growth conditions strain CAB utilized the biogenic oxygen produced as a result of chlorite dismutation to oxidize catechol via the meta-cleavage pathway of aerobic catechol degradation and the catechol 2,3-dioxygenase enzyme. In addition to (per)chlorate, oxygen and nitrate were alternatively used as electron acceptors. The 3.48-Mb draft genome encoded a distinct perchlorate reduction island (PRI) containing several transposases. The genome lacks the pcrC gene, which was previously thought to be essential for (per)chlorate reduction, and appears to use an unrelated Arcobacter c-type cytochrome to perform the same function. IMPORTANCE The study of dissimilatory perchlorate-reducing bacteria (DPRB) has largely focused on freshwater, mesophilic, neutral-pH environments. This study identifies a novel marine DPRB in the genus Arcobacter that represents the first description of a DPRB associated with the Campylobacteraceae. Strain CAB is currently the only epsilonproteobacterial DPRB in pure culture. The genome of strain CAB lacks the pcrC gene found in all other DPRB tested, demonstrating a new variation on the (per)chlorate reduction pathway. The ability of strain CAB to oxidize catechol via the oxygenase-dependent meta-cleavage pathway in the absence of external oxygen by using the biogenic oxygen produced from the dismutation of chlorite provides a valuable model for understanding the anaerobic degradation of a broad diversity of xenobiotics which are recalcitrant to anaerobic metabolism but labile to oxygenase-dependent mechanisms.
Project description:UNLABELLED:The genes for chlorate reduction in six bacterial strains were analyzed in order to gain insight into the metabolism. A newly isolated chlorate-reducing bacterium (Shewanella algae ACDC) and three previously isolated strains (Ideonella dechloratans, Pseudomonas sp. strain PK, and Dechloromarinus chlorophilus NSS) were genome sequenced and compared to published sequences (Alicycliphilus denitrificans BC plasmid pALIDE01 and Pseudomonas chloritidismutans AW-1). De novo assembly of genomes failed to join regions adjacent to genes involved in chlorate reduction, suggesting the presence of repeat regions. Using a bioinformatics approach and finishing PCRs to connect fragmented contigs, we discovered that chlorate reduction genes are flanked by insertion sequences, forming composite transposons in all four newly sequenced strains. These insertion sequences delineate regions with the potential to move horizontally and define a set of genes that may be important for chlorate reduction. In addition to core metabolic components, we have highlighted several such genes through comparative analysis and visualization. Phylogenetic analysis places chlorate reductase within a functionally diverse clade of type II dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) reductases, part of a larger family of enzymes with reactivity toward chlorate. Nucleotide-level forensics of regions surrounding chlorite dismutase (cld), as well as its phylogenetic clustering in a betaproteobacterial Cld clade, indicate that cld has been mobilized at least once from a perchlorate reducer to build chlorate respiration. IMPORTANCE:Genome sequencing has identified, for the first time, chlorate reduction composite transposons. These transposons are constructed with flanking insertion sequences that differ in type and orientation between organisms, indicating that this mobile element has formed multiple times and is important for dissemination. Apart from core metabolic enzymes, very little is known about the genetic factors involved in chlorate reduction. Comparative analysis has identified several genes that may also be important, but the relative absence of accessory genes suggests that this mobile metabolism relies on host systems for electron transport, regulation, and cofactor synthesis. Phylogenetic analysis of Cld and ClrA provides support for the hypothesis that chlorate reduction was built multiple times from type II dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) reductases and cld. In at least one case, cld has been coopted from a perchlorate reduction island for this purpose. This work is a significant step toward understanding the genetics and evolution of chlorate reduction.
Project description:The dismutation of chlorite into chloride and O(2) represents a central step in the reductive pathway of perchlorate that is common to all dissimilatory perchlorate-reducing bacteria and is mediated by a single enzyme, chlorite dismutase. The chlorite dismutase gene cld was isolated and sequenced from the perchlorate-reducing bacterium Dechloromonas agitata strain CKB. Sequence analysis identified an open reading frame of 834 bp that would encode a mature protein with an N-terminal sequence identical to that of the previously purified D. agitata chlorite dismutase enzyme. The predicted translation product of the D. agitata cld gene is a protein of 277 amino acids (aa), including a leader peptide of 26 aa. Primer extension analysis identified a single transcription start site directly downstream of an AT-rich region that could represent the -10 promoter region of the D. agitata cld gene. Northern blot analysis indicated that the cld gene was transcriptionally up-regulated when D. agitata cells were grown in perchlorate-reducing versus aerobic conditions. Slot blot hybridizations with a D. agitata cld probe demonstrated the conservation of the cld gene among perchlorate-reducing bacteria. This study represents the first description of a functional gene associated with microbial perchlorate reduction.
Project description:The reduction of perchlorate to chlorite, the first enzymatic step in the bacterial reduction of perchlorate, is catalyzed by perchlorate reductase. The genes encoding perchlorate reductase (pcrABCD) in two Dechloromonas species were characterized. Sequence analysis of the pcrAB gene products revealed similarity to alpha- and beta-subunits of microbial nitrate reductase, selenate reductase, dimethyl sulfide dehydrogenase, ethylbenzene dehydrogenase, and chlorate reductase, all of which are type II members of the microbial dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) reductase family. The pcrC gene product was similar to a c-type cytochrome, while the pcrD gene product exhibited similarity to molybdenum chaperone proteins of the DMSO reductase family members mentioned above. Expression analysis of the pcrA gene from Dechloromonas agitata indicated that transcription occurred only under anaerobic (per)chlorate-reducing conditions. The presence of oxygen completely inhibited pcrA expression regardless of the presence of perchlorate, chlorate, or nitrate. Deletion of the pcrA gene in Dechloromonas aromatica abolished growth in both perchlorate and chlorate but not growth in nitrate, indicating that the pcrABCD genes play a functional role in perchlorate reduction separate from nitrate reduction. Phylogenetic analysis of PcrA and other alpha-subunits of the DMSO reductase family indicated that perchlorate reductase forms a monophyletic group separate from chlorate reductase of Ideonella dechloratans. The separation of perchlorate reductase as an activity distinct from chlorate reductase was further supported by DNA hybridization analysis of (per)chlorate- and chlorate-reducing strains using the pcrA gene as a probe.
Project description:The study investigated the ability of selected (hyper-)thermophilic prokaryotes to grow anaerobically by the reduction of perchlorate and chlorate. Physiological, genomic and proteome analyses suggest that the Crenarchaeon Aeropyrum pernix reduces (per)chlorate with a periplasmic enzyme related to nitrate reductases, while it lacks a functional chlorite-disproportionating enzyme (Cld). A. pernix seems to rely on the chemical reactivity of reduced sulfur compounds with the toxic intermediate chlorite to complete the pathway. The chemical oxidation of thiosulfate (in excessive amounts present in the medium) to sulfate and the concomitant release of chloride anions from the reduction of chlorite are the products of a biotic-abiotic (per)chlorate reduction pathway in A. pernix. The apparent absence of Cld in two other (per)chlorate-reducing microorganisms and their dependence on sulfide for (per)chlorate reduction is consistent with earlier-made observations on (per)chlorate-reducing Archaeoglobus fulgidus. All here discussed microorganisms use strategies for complete (per)chlorate reduction that differ from the physiology of classical (per)chlorate-reducing mesophiles.
Project description:The response behavior of three dissimilatory perchlorate-reducing bacteria to different electron acceptors (nitrate, chlorate, and perchlorate) was investigated with two different assays. The observed response was species-specific, dependent on the prior growth conditions, and was inhibited by oxygen. We observed attraction toward nitrate when Dechloromonas aromatica strain RCB and Azospira suillum strain PS were grown with nitrate. When D. aromatica and Dechloromonas agitata strain CKB were grown with perchlorate, both responded to nitrate, chlorate, and perchlorate. When A. suillum was grown with perchlorate, the organism responded to chlorate and perchlorate but not nitrate. A gene replacement mutant in the perchlorate reductase subunit (pcrA) of D. aromatica resulted in a loss of the attraction response toward perchlorate but had no impact on the nitrate response. Washed-cell suspension studies revealed that the perchlorate grown cells of D. aromatica reduced both perchlorate and nitrate, while A. suillum cells reduced perchlorate only. Based on these observations, energy taxis was proposed as the underlying mechanism for the responses to (per)chlorate by D. aromatica. To the best of our knowledge, this study represents the first investigation of the response behavior of perchlorate-reducing bacteria to environmental stimuli. It clearly demonstrates attraction toward chlorine oxyanions and the unique ability of these organisms to distinguish structurally analogous compounds, nitrate, chlorate, and perchlorate and respond accordingly.
Project description:A bacterium, strain BC, was isolated from a benzene-degrading chlorate-reducing enrichment culture. Strain BC degrades benzene in conjunction with chlorate reduction. Cells of strain BC are short rods that are 0.6 microm wide and 1 to 2 microm long, are motile, and stain gram negative. Strain BC grows on benzene and some other aromatic compounds with oxygen or in the absence of oxygen with chlorate as the electron acceptor. Strain BC is a denitrifying bacterium, but it is not able to grow on benzene with nitrate. The closest cultured relative is Alicycliphilus denitrificans type strain K601, a cyclohexanol-degrading nitrate-reducing betaproteobacterium. Chlorate reductase (0.4 U/mg protein) and chlorite dismutase (5.7 U/mg protein) activities in cell extracts of strain BC were determined. Gene sequences encoding a known chlorite dismutase (cld) were not detected in strain BC by using the PCR primers described in previous studies. As physiological and biochemical data indicated that there was oxygenation of benzene during growth with chlorate, a strategy was developed to detect genes encoding monooxygenase and dioxygenase enzymes potentially involved in benzene degradation in strain BC. Using primer sets designed to amplify members of distinct evolutionary branches in the catabolic families involved in benzene biodegradation, two oxygenase genes putatively encoding the enzymes performing the initial successive monooxygenations (BC-BMOa) and the cleavage of catechol (BC-C23O) were detected. Our findings suggest that oxygen formed by dismutation of chlorite can be used to attack organic molecules by means of oxygenases, as exemplified with benzene. Thus, aerobic pathways can be employed under conditions in which no external oxygen is supplied.
Project description:Chlorite dismutase (Cld) is a unique heme enzyme catalyzing the conversion of ClO(2)(-) to Cl(-) and O(2). Cld is usually found in perchlorate- or chlorate-reducing bacteria but was also recently identified in a nitrite-oxidizing bacterium of the genus Nitrospira. Here we characterized a novel Cld-like protein from the chemolithoautotrophic nitrite oxidizer Nitrobacter winogradskyi which is significantly smaller than all previously known chlorite dismutases. Its three-dimensional (3D) crystal structure revealed a dimer of two identical subunits, which sharply contrasts with the penta- or hexameric structures of other chlorite dismutases. Despite a truncated N-terminal domain in each subunit, this novel enzyme turned out to be a highly efficient chlorite dismutase (K(m) = 90 ?M; k(cat) = 190 s(-1); k(cat)/K(m) = 2.1 × 10(6) M(-1) s(-1)), demonstrating a greater structural and phylogenetic diversity of these enzymes than was previously known. Based on comparative analyses of Cld sequences and 3D structures, signature amino acid residues that can be employed to assess whether uncharacterized Cld-like proteins may have a high chlorite-dismutating activity were identified. Interestingly, proteins that contain all these signatures and are phylogenetically closely related to the novel-type Cld of N. winogradskyi exist in a large number of other microbes, including other nitrite oxidizers.
Project description:Ten chlorate-respiring bacteria were isolated from wastewater and a perchlorate-degrading bioreactor. Eight of the isolates were able to degrade perchlorate, and all isolates used oxygen and chlorate as terminal electron acceptors. The growth kinetics of two perchlorate-degrading isolates, designated "Dechlorosoma" sp. strains KJ and PDX, were examined with acetate as the electron donor in batch tests. The maximum observed aerobic growth rates of KJ and PDX (0.27 and 0.28 h(-1), respectively) were only slightly higher than the anoxic growth rates obtained by these isolates during growth with chlorate (0.26 and 0.21 h(-1), respectively). The maximum observed growth rates of the two non-perchlorate-utilizing isolates (PDA and PDB) were much higher under aerobic conditions (0.64 and 0.41 h(-1), respectively) than under anoxic (chlorate-reducing) conditions (0.18 and 0.21 h(-1), respectively). The maximum growth rates of PDX on perchlorate and chlorate were identical (0.21 h(-1)) and exceeded that of strain KJ on perchlorate (0.14 h(-1)). Growth of one isolate (PDX) was more rapid on acetate than on lactate. There were substantial differences in the half-saturation constants measured for anoxic growth of isolates on acetate with excess perchlorate (470 mg/liter for KJ and 45 mg/liter for PDX). Biomass yields (grams of cells per gram of acetate) for strain KJ were not statistically different in the presence of the electron acceptors oxygen (0.46 +/- 0.07 [n = 7]), chlorate (0.44 +/- 0.05 [n = 7]), and perchlorate (0.50 +/- 0.08 [n = 7]). These studies provide evidence that facultative microorganisms with the capability for perchlorate and chlorate respiration exist, that not all chlorate-respiring microorganisms are capable of anoxic growth on perchlorate, and that isolates have dissimilar growth kinetics using different electron donors and acceptors.
Project description:Two (per)chlorate-reducing bacteria, strains CUZ and NSS, were isolated from marine sediments in Berkeley and San Diego, CA, respectively. Strain CUZ respired both perchlorate and chlorate [collectively designated (per)chlorate], while strain NSS respired only chlorate. Phylogenetic analysis classified both strains as close relatives of the gammaproteobacterium Sedimenticola selenatireducens. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) preparations showed the presence of rod-shaped, motile cells containing one polar flagellum. Optimum growth for strain CUZ was observed at 25 to 30 °C, pH 7, and 4% NaCl, while strain NSS grew optimally at 37 to 42 °C, pH 7.5 to 8, and 1.5 to 2.5% NaCl. Both strains oxidized hydrogen, sulfide, various organic acids, and aromatics, such as benzoate and phenylacetate, as electron donors coupled to oxygen, nitrate, and (per)chlorate or chlorate as electron acceptors. The draft genome of strain CUZ carried the requisite (per)chlorate reduction island (PRI) for (per)chlorate respiration, while that of strain NSS carried the composite chlorate reduction transposon responsible for chlorate metabolism. The PRI of strain CUZ encoded a perchlorate reductase (Pcr), which reduced both perchlorate and chlorate, while the genome of strain NSS included a gene for a distinct chlorate reductase (Clr) that reduced only chlorate. When both (per)chlorate and nitrate were present, (per)chlorate was preferentially utilized if the inoculum was pregrown on (per)chlorate. Historically, (per)chlorate-reducing bacteria (PRB) and chlorate-reducing bacteria (CRB) have been isolated primarily from freshwater, mesophilic environments. This study describes the isolation and characterization of two highly related marine halophiles, one a PRB and the other a CRB, and thus broadens the known phylogenetic and physiological diversity of these unusual metabolisms.