Noncoupled NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase of Azotobacter vinelandii is required for diazotrophic growth at high oxygen concentrations.
ABSTRACT: The gene encoding the noncoupled NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase (NDH II) from Azotobacter vinelandii was cloned, sequenced, and used to construct an NDH II-deficient mutant strain. Compared to the wild type, this strain showed a marked decrease in respiratory activity. It was unable to grow diazotrophically at high aeration, while it was fully capable of growth at low aeration or in the presence of NH(4)(+). This result suggests that the role of NDH II is as a vital component of the respiratory protection mechanism of the nitrogenase complex in A. vinelandii. It was also found that the oxidation of NADPH in the A. vinelandii respiratory chain is catalyzed solely by NDH II.
Project description:Overcoming the inhibitory effects of excess environmental ammonium on nitrogenase synthesis or activity and preventing ammonium assimilation have been considered strategies to increase the amount of fixed nitrogen transferred from bacterial to plant partners in associative or symbiotic plant-diazotroph relationships. The GlnE adenylyltransferase/adenylyl-removing enzyme catalyzes reversible adenylylation of glutamine synthetase (GS), thereby affecting the posttranslational regulation of ammonium assimilation that is critical for the appropriate coordination of carbon and nitrogen assimilation. Since GS is key to the sole ammonium assimilation pathway of Azotobacter vinelandii, attempts to obtain deletion mutants in the gene encoding GS (glnA) have been unsuccessful. We have generated a glnE deletion strain, thus preventing posttranslational regulation of GS. The resultant strain containing constitutively active GS is unable to grow well on ammonium-containing medium, as previously observed in other organisms, and can be cultured only at low ammonium concentrations. This phenotype is caused by the lack of downregulation of GS activity, resulting in high intracellular glutamine levels and severe perturbation of the ratio of glutamine to 2-oxoglutarate under excess-nitrogen conditions. Interestingly, the mutant can grow diazotrophically at rates comparable to those of the wild type. This observation suggests that the control of nitrogen fixation-specific gene expression at the transcriptional level in response to 2-oxoglutarate via NifA is sufficiently tight to alone regulate ammonium production at levels appropriate for optimal carbon and nitrogen balance.IMPORTANCE In this study, the characterization of the glnE knockout mutant of the model diazotroph Azotobacter vinelandii provides significant insights into the integration of the regulatory mechanisms of ammonium production and ammonium assimilation during nitrogen fixation. The work reveals the profound fidelity of nitrogen fixation regulation in providing ammonium sufficient for maximal growth but constraining energetically costly excess production. A detailed fundamental understanding of the interplay between the regulation of ammonium production and assimilation is of paramount importance in exploiting existing and potentially engineering new plant-diazotroph relationships for improved agriculture.
Project description:The nucleotide sequence (3,600 bp) of a second copy of nifENX-like genes in Azotobacter vinelandii has been determined. These genes are located immediately downstream from vnfA and have been designated vnfENX. The vnfENX genes appear to be organized as a single transcriptional unit that is preceded by a potential RpoN-dependent promoter. While the nifEN genes are thought to be evolutionarily related to nifDK, the vnfEN genes appear to be more closely related to nifEN than to either nifDK, vnfDK, or anfDK. Mutant strains (CA47 and CA48) carrying insertions in vnfE and vnfN, respectively, are able to grow diazotrophically in molybdenum (Mo)-deficient medium containing vanadium (V) (Vnf+) and in medium lacking both Mo and V (Anf+). However, a double mutant (strain DJ42.48) which contains a nifEN deletion and an insertion in vnfE is unable to grow diazotrophically in Mo-sufficient medium or in Mo-deficient medium with or without V. This suggests that NifE and NifN substitute for VnfE and VnfN when the vnfEN genes are mutationally inactivated. AnfA is not required for the expression of a vnfN-lacZ transcriptional fusion, even though this fusion is expressed under Mo- and V-deficient diazotrophic growth conditions.
Project description:Strain DS988, an Azotobacter vinelandii mutant with a reduced capacity to accumulate poly-beta-hydroxybutyrate, was isolated after mini-Tn5 mutagenesis of the UW136 strain. Cloning and nucleotide sequencing of the affected locus revealed a gene homologous to Escherichia coli ptsP which encodes enzyme INtr, a homologue of enzyme I of the phosphoenol pyruvate-sugar phosphotransferase system with an N-terminal domain similar to the N-terminal domain of some NifA proteins. Strain DS988 was unable to grow diazotrophically with 10 mM glucose as a carbon source. Diazotrophic growth on alternative carbon sources such as gluconate was only slightly affected. Glucose uptake, as well as glucose kinase and glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase activities that lead to the synthesis of gluconate-6-phosphate, were not affected by the ptsP mutation. The inability of DS988 to grow diazotrophically in 10 mM glucose was overcome by supplying ammonium or other sources of fixed nitrogen. Acetylene reduction activity but not transcription of the nitrogenase structural gene nifH was shown to be impaired in strain DS988 when it was incubated in 10 mM glucose. The diazotrophic growth defect of DS988 was restored either by increasing the glucose concentration to above 20 mM or by lowering the oxygen concentration. These data suggest that a mutation in ptsP leads to a failure in poly-beta-hydroxybutyrate metabolism and in the respiratory protection of nitrogenase under carbon-limiting conditions.
Project description:The major part of biological nitrogen fixation is catalysed by the molybdenum nitrogenase that carries at its active site the iron and molybdenum cofactor (FeMo-co). The nitrogen fixation (nif) genes required for the biosynthesis of FeMo-co are derepressed in the absence of a source of fixed nitrogen. The nifB gene product is remarkable because it assembles NifB-co, a complex cluster proposed to comprise a [6Fe-9S-X] cluster, from simpler [Fe-S] clusters common to other metabolic pathways. NifB-co is a common intermediate of the biosyntheses of the cofactors present in the molybdenum, vanadium and iron nitrogenases. In this work, the expression of the Azotobacter vinelandii nifB gene was uncoupled from its natural nif regulation to show that NifB protein levels are lower in cells growing diazotrophically than in cells growing at the expense of ammonium. A. vinelandii carries a duplicated copy of the ATPase component of the ubiquitous ClpXP protease (ClpX2), which is induced under nitrogen fixing conditions. Inactivation of clpX2 resulted in the accumulation of NifB and NifEN and a defect in diazotrophic growth, especially when iron was in short supply. Mutations in nifE, nifN and nifX or in nifA also affected NifB accumulation, suggesting that NifB susceptibility to degradation might vary during its catalytic cycle.
Project description:Azotobacter vinelandii flavodoxin II serves as a physiological reductant of nitrogenase, the enzyme system mediating biological nitrogen fixation. Wildtype A. vinelandii flavodoxin II was electrochemically and crystallographically characterized to better understand the molecular basis for this functional role. The redox properties were monitored on surfactant-modified basal plane graphite electrodes, with two distinct redox couples measured by cyclic voltammetry corresponding to reduction potentials of -483?±?1 mV and -187?±?9 mV (vs. NHE) in 50 mM potassium phosphate, 150 mM NaCl, pH 7.5. These redox potentials were assigned as the semiquinone/hydroquinone couple and the quinone/semiquinone couple, respectively. This study constitutes one of the first applications of surfactant-modified basal plane graphite electrodes to characterize the redox properties of a flavodoxin, thus providing a novel electrochemical method to study this class of protein. The X-ray crystal structure of the flavodoxin purified from A. vinelandii was solved at 1.17 Å resolution. With this structure, the native nitrogenase electron transfer proteins have all been structurally characterized. Docking studies indicate that a common binding site surrounding the Fe-protein [4Fe:4S] cluster mediates complex formation with the redox partners Mo-Fe protein, ferredoxin I, and flavodoxin II. This model supports a mechanistic hypothesis that electron transfer reactions between the Fe-protein and its redox partners are mutually exclusive.
Project description:In this study, we performed a detailed characterization of the siderophore metabolome, or "chelome," of the agriculturally important and widely studied model organism Azotobacter vinelandii. Using a new high-resolution liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) approach, we found over 35 metal-binding secondary metabolites, indicative of a vast chelome in A. vinelandii. These include vibrioferrin, a siderophore previously observed only in marine bacteria. Quantitative analyses of siderophore production during diazotrophic growth with different sources and availabilities of Fe showed that, under all tested conditions, vibrioferrin was present at the highest concentration of all siderophores and suggested new roles for vibrioferrin in the soil environment. Bioinformatic searches confirmed the capacity for vibrioferrin production in Azotobacter spp. and other bacteria spanning multiple phyla, habitats, and lifestyles. Moreover, our studies revealed a large number of previously unreported derivatives of all known A. vinelandii siderophores and rationalized their origins based on genomic analyses, with implications for siderophore diversity and evolution. Together, these insights provide clues as to why A. vinelandii harbors multiple siderophore biosynthesis gene clusters. Coupled with the growing evidence for alternative functions of siderophores, the vast chelome in A. vinelandii may be explained by multiple, disparate evolutionary pressures that act on siderophore production.
Project description:Rnf proteins are proposed to form membrane-protein complexes involved in the reduction of target proteins such as the transcriptional regulator SoxR or the dinitrogenase reductase component of nitrogenase. In this work, we investigate the role of rnf genes in the nitrogen-fixing bacterium Azotobacter vinelandii. We show that A. vinelandii has two clusters of rnf-like genes: rnf1, whose expression is nif-regulated, and rnf2, which is expressed independently of the nitrogen source in the medium. Deletion of each of these gene clusters produces a time delay in nitrogen-fixing capacity and, consequently, in diazotrophic growth. Deltarnf mutations cause two distinguishable effects on the nitrogenase system: (i), slower nifHDK gene expression and (ii), impairment of nitrogenase function. In these mutants, dinitrogenase reductase activity is lowered, whereas dinitrogenase activity remains essentially unaltered. Further analysis indicates that deltarnf mutants accumulate an inactive and iron-deficient form of NifH because they have lower rates of incorporation of [4Fe-4S] into NifH. Deltarnf mutations also cause a noticeable decrease in aconitase activity; however, they do not produce general oxidative stress or modification of Fe metabolism in A. vinelandii. Our results suggest the existence of a redox regulatory mechanism in A. vinelandii that controls the rate of expression and maturation of nitrogenase by the activity of the Rnf protein complexes. rnf1 plays a major and more specific role in this scheme, but the additive effects of mutations in rnf1 and rnf2 indicate the existence of functional complementation between the two homologous systems.
Project description:Azotobacter vinelandii is a nitrogen-fixing bacterium of the Pseudomonadaceae family that prefers the use of organic acids rather than carbohydrates. Thus, in a mixture of acetate-glucose, glucose is consumed only after acetate is exhausted. In a previous work, we investigated the molecular basis of this carbon catabolite repression (CCR) process under diazotrophic conditions. In the presence of acetate, Crc-Hfq inhibited translation of the gluP mRNA, encoding the glucose transporter in A. vinelandii. Herein, we investigated the regulation in the expression of the small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs) crcZ and crcY, which are known to antagonize the repressing activity of Hfq-Crc. Our results indicated higher expression levels of the sRNAs crcZ and crcY under low CCR conditions (i.e. glucose), in relation to the strong one (acetate one). In addition, we also explored the process of CCR in the presence of ammonium. Our results revealed that CCR also occurs under non-diazotrophic conditions as we detected a hierarchy in the utilization of the supplied carbon sources, which was consistent with the higher expression level of the crcZ/Y sRNAs during glucose catabolism. Analysis of the promoters driving transcription of crcZ and crcY confirmed that they were RpoN-dependent but we also detected a processed form of CrcZ (CrcZ*) in the RpoN-deficient strain derived from a cbrB-crcZ co-transcript. CrcZ* was functional and sufficient to allow the assimilation of acetate.
Project description:An Azotobacter vinelandii homolog to the Salmonella typhimurium mutS gene was discovered upstream of the fdxA gene. The product of this gene is much more similar to S. typhimurium MutS than either is to the HexA protein of Streptococcus pneumoniae. An A. vinelandii delta mutS mutant strain was shown to have a spontaneous mutation frequency 65-fold greater than that of the wild type.
Project description:Azotobacter vinelandii is a soil bacterium related to the Pseudomonas genus that fixes nitrogen under aerobic conditions while simultaneously protecting nitrogenase from oxygen damage. In response to carbon availability, this organism undergoes a simple differentiation process to form cysts that are resistant to drought and other physical and chemical agents. Here we report the complete genome sequence of A. vinelandii DJ, which has a single circular genome of 5,365,318 bp. In order to reconcile an obligate aerobic lifestyle with exquisitely oxygen-sensitive processes, A. vinelandii is specialized in terms of its complement of respiratory proteins. It is able to produce alginate, a polymer that further protects the organism from excess exogenous oxygen, and it has multiple duplications of alginate modification genes, which may alter alginate composition in response to oxygen availability. The genome analysis identified the chromosomal locations of the genes coding for the three known oxygen-sensitive nitrogenases, as well as genes coding for other oxygen-sensitive enzymes, such as carbon monoxide dehydrogenase and formate dehydrogenase. These findings offer new prospects for the wider application of A. vinelandii as a host for the production and characterization of oxygen-sensitive proteins.