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Title:The chemolithoautotroph Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans can survive under phosphate-limiting conditions by expressing a C-P lyase operon that allows it to grow on phosphonates
Section:General -
Author:Vera M, Pagliai F, Guiliani N, Jerez CA
URL:Appl Environ Microbiol
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The chemolithoautotrophic bacterium Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans is of great importance in biomining operations. During the bioleaching of ores, microorganisms are subjected to a variety of environmental stresses and to the limitations of some nutrients, such as inorganic phosphate (P(i)), which is an essential component for all living cells. Although the primary source of phosphorus for microorganisms is P(i), some bacteria are also able to metabolize P(i) esters (with a C-O-P bond) and phosphonates (with a very inert C-P bond). By using bioinformatic analysis of genomic sequences of the type strain of A. ferrooxidans (ATCC 23270), we found that as part of a Pho regulon, this bacterium has a complete gene cluster encoding C-P lyase, which is the main bacterial enzyme involved in phosphonate (Pn) degradation in other microorganisms. A. ferrooxidans was able to grow in the presence of methyl-Pn or ethyl-Pn as an alternative phosphorus source. Under these growth conditions, a great reduction in inorganic polyphosphate (polyP) levels was seen compared with the level for cells grown in the presence of P(i). By means of reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR), DNA macroarrays, and real-time RT-PCR experiments, it was found that A. ferrooxidans phn genes were cotranscribed and their expression was induced when the microorganism was grown in methyl-Pn as the only phosphorus source. This is the first report of phosphonate utilization in a chemolithoautotrophic microorganism. The existence of a functional C-P lyase system is a clear advantage for the survival under P(i) limitation, a condition that may greatly affect the bioleaching of ores.

Submited to Green Pi:2010-05-28 By admin
Modified on Green Pi:2013-03-28 By farzi