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Markerless mutagenesis in Methanococcus maripaludis demonstrates roles for alanine dehydrogenase, alanine racemase, and alanine permease.

ABSTRACT: Among the archaea, Methanococcus maripaludis has the unusual ability to use L- or D-alanine as a nitrogen source. To understand how this occurs, we tested the roles of three adjacent genes encoding homologs of alanine dehydrogenase, alanine racemase, and alanine permease. To produce mutations in these genes, we devised a method for markerless mutagenesis that builds on previously established genetic tools for M. maripaludis. The technique uses a negative selection strategy that takes advantage of the ability of the M. maripaludis hpt gene encoding hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase to confer sensitivity to the base analog 8-azahypoxanthine. In addition, we developed a negative selection method to stably incorporate constructs into the genome at the site of the upt gene encoding uracil phosphoribosyltransferase. Mutants with in-frame deletion mutations in the genes for alanine dehydrogenase and alanine permease lost the ability to grow on either isomer of alanine, while a mutant with an in-frame deletion mutation in the gene for alanine racemase lost only the ability to grow on D-alanine. The wild-type gene for alanine dehydrogenase, incorporated into the upt site, complemented the alanine dehydrogenase mutation. Hence, the permease is required for the transport of either isomer, the dehydrogenase is specific for the L isomer, and the racemase converts the D isomer to the L isomer. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that all three genes had been acquired by lateral gene transfer from the low-moles-percent G+C gram-positive bacteria.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC545699 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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