Desulfotignum phosphitoxidans is a strictly anaerobic, Gram-negative bacterium that utilizes phosphite as the sole electron source for homoacetogenic CO2 reduction or sulfate reduction. A genomic library of D. phosphitoxidans, constructed using the fosmid vector pJK050, was screened for clones harboring the genes involved in phosphite oxidation via PCR using primers developed based on the amino acid sequences of phosphite-induced proteins. Sequence analysis of two positive clones revealed a putative operon of seven genes predicted to be involved in phosphite oxidation. Four of these genes (ptxD-ptdFCG) were cloned and heterologously expressed in Desulfotignum balticum, a related strain that cannot use phosphite as either an electron donor or as a phosphorus source. The ptxD-ptdFCG gene cluster was sufficient to confer phosphite uptake and oxidation ability to the D. balticum host strain but did not allow use of phosphite as an electron donor for chemolithotrophic growth. Phosphite oxidation activity was measured in cell extracts of D. balticum transconjugants, suggesting that all genes required for phosphite oxidation were cloned. Genes of the phosphite gene cluster were assigned putative functions on the basis of sequence analysis and enzyme assays.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology