Project description:A metagenomic library of sea sediment metagenome containing 245,000 recombinant clones representing ~ 2.45 Gb of sea sediment microbial DNA was constructed. Two unique arsenic resistance clones, A7 and A12, were identified by selection on sodium arsenite containing medium. Clone A7 showed a six-fold higher resistance to arsenate [As(V)], a three-fold higher resistance to arsenite [As(III)] and significantly increased resistance to antimony [Sb(III)], while clone A12 showed increased resistance only to sodium arsenite and not to the other two metalloids. The clones harbored inserts of 8.848 Kb and 6.771 Kb, respectively. Both the clones possess A + T rich nucleotide sequence with similarity to sequences from marine psychrophilic bacteria. Sequence and transposon-mutagenesis based analysis revealed the presence of a putative arsenate reductase (ArsC), a putative arsenite efflux pump (ArsB/ACR) and a putative NADPH-dependent FMN reductase (ArsH) in both the clones and also a putative transcriptional regulatory protein (ArsR) in pA7. The increased resistance of clone A7 to As(V), As(III) and Sb(III) indicates functional expression of ArsC and ArsB proteins from pA7. The absence of increased As(V) resistance in clone A12 may be due to the expression of a possible inactive ArsC, as conserved Arg60 residue in this protein was replaced by Glu60, while the absence of Sb(III) resistance may be due to the presence of an ACR3p-type arsenite pump, which is known to lack antimony transport ability.