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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A new type of NADH dehydrogenase specific for nitrate respiration in the extreme thermophile Thermus thermophilus.

A four-gene operon (nrcDEFN) was identified within a conjugative element that allows Thermus thermophilus to use nitrate as an electron acceptor. Three of them encode homologues to components of bacterial respiratory chains: NrcD to ferredoxins; NrcF to iron-sulfur-containing subunits of succinate-quinone oxidoreductase (SQR); and NrcN to type-II NADH dehydrogenases (NDHs). The fourth gene, nrcE, encodes a membrane protein with no homologues in the protein data bank. Nitrate reduction with NADH was catalyzed by membrane fractions of the wild type strain, but was severely impaired in nrc::kat insertion mutants. A fusion to a thermophilic reporter gene was used for the first time in Thermus spp. to show that expression of nrc required the presence of nitrate and anoxic conditions. Therefore, a role for the nrc products as a new type of membrane NDH specific for nitrate respiration was deduced. Consistent with this, nrc::kat mutants grew more slowly than the wild type strain under anaerobic conditions, but not in the presence of oxygen. The oligomeric structure of this Nrc-NDH was deduced from the analysis of insertion mutants and a two-hybrid bacterial system. Attachment to the membrane of NrcD, NrcF, and NrcN was dependent on NrcE, whose cytoplasmic C terminus interacts with the three proteins. Interactions were also detected between NrcN and NrcF. Inactivation of nrcF produced solubilization of NrcN, but not of NrcD. These data lead us to conclude that the Nrc proteins form a distinct third type of bacterial respiratory NDH.[1]


  1. A new type of NADH dehydrogenase specific for nitrate respiration in the extreme thermophile Thermus thermophilus. Cava, F., Zafra, O., Magalon, A., Blasco, F., Berenguer, J. J. Biol. Chem. (2004) [Pubmed]
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