Azospirillum irakense produces a novel type of pectate lyase.
The pelA gene from the N2-fixing plant-associated bacterium Azospirillum irakense, encoding a pectate lyase, was isolated by heterologous expression in Escherichia coli. Nucleotide sequence analysis of the region containing pelA indicated an open reading frame of 1,296 bp, coding for a preprotein of 432 amino acids with a typical amino-terminal signal peptide of 24 amino acids. N-terminal amino acid sequencing confirmed the processing of the protein in E. coli at the signal peptidase cleavage site predicted by nucleotide sequence analysis. Analysis of the amino acid sequence of PelA revealed no homology to other known pectinases, indicating that PelA belongs to a new pectate lyase family. PelA macerates potato tuber tissue, has an alkaline pH optimum, and requires Ca2+ for its activity. Of several divalent cations tested, none could substitute for Ca2+. Methyl-esterified pectin (with a degree of esterification up to 93%) and polygalacturonate can be used as substrates. Characterization of the degradation products formed upon incubation with polygalacturonate indicated that PelA is an endo-pectate lyase generating unsaturated digalacturonide as the major end product. Regulation of pelA expression was studied by means of a translational pelA-gusA fusion. Transcription of this fusion is low under all growth conditions tested and is dependent on the growth phase. In addition, pelA expression was found to be induced by pectin. An A. irakense pelA::Tn5 mutant still displayed pectate lyase activity, suggesting the presence of multiple pectate lyase genes in A. irakense. (+info)
Growth of Azospirillum irakense KBC1 on the aryl beta-glucoside salicin requires either salA or salB.
The rhizosphere nitrogen-fixing bacterium Azospirillum irakense KBC1 is able to grow on pectin and beta-glucosides such as cellobiose, arbutin, and salicin. Two adjacent genes, salA and salB, conferring beta-glucosidase activity to Escherichia coli, have been identified in a cosmid library of A. irakense DNA. The SalA and SalB enzymes preferentially hydrolyzed aryl beta-glucosides. A Delta(salA-salB) A. irakense mutant was not able to grow on salicin but could still utilize arbutin, cellobiose, and glucose for growth. This mutant could be complemented by either salA or salB, suggesting functional redundancy of these genes in salicin utilization. In contrast to this functional homology, the SalA and SalB proteins, members of family 3 of the glycosyl hydrolases, show a low degree of amino acid similarity. Unlike SalA, the SalB protein exhibits an atypical truncated C-terminal region. We propose that SalA and SalB are representatives of the AB and AB' subfamilies, respectively, in glycosyl hydrolase family 3. This is the first genetic implication of this beta-glucosidase family in the utilization of beta-glucosides for microbial growth. (+info)
Interaction of Azospirillum lipoferum with wheat germ agglutinin stimulates nitrogen fixation.
In vitro, the nitrogen fixation capability of A. lipoferum is efficiently increased in the presence of wheat germ agglutinin (WGA). A putative WGA-binding receptor, a 32-kDa protein, was detected in the cell capsule. The stimulatory effect required N-acetyl-D-glucosamine dimer (GlcNAcdi) terminated sugar side chains of the receptor and was dependent on the number of GlcNAcdi links involved in receptor-WGA interface. Binding to the primary sugar binding sites on WGA had a larger stimulatory effect than binding to the secondary sites. The WGA-receptor complex generated stimulus led to elevated transcription of the nifH and nifA genes and of the glnBA gene cluster but not of the glnA gene from its own promoter. There may well be a signalling cascade contributing to the regulation of nitrogen fixation. (+info)
A phase variant of Azospirillum lipoferum lacks a polar flagellum and constitutively expresses mechanosensing lateral flagella.
Flagellation of a nonswimming variant of the mixed flagellated bacterium Azospirillum lipoferum 4B was characterized by electron microscopy, and polyclonal antibodies were raised against polar and lateral flagellins. The variant cells lacked a polar flagellum due to a defect in flagellin synthesis and constitutively expressed lateral flagella. The variant cells were able to respond to conditions that restricted the rotation of lateral flagella by producing more lateral flagella, suggesting that the lateral flagella, as well as the polar flagellum, are mechanosensing. (+info)
Loss of cytochrome c oxidase activity and acquisition of resistance to quinone analogs in a laccase-positive variant of Azospirillum lipoferum.
Laccase, a p-diphenol oxidase typical of plants and fungi, has been found recently in a proteobacterium, Azospirillum lipoferum. Laccase activity was detected in both a natural isolate and an in vitro-obtained phase variant that originated from the laccase-negative wild type. In this study, the electron transport systems of the laccase-positive variant and its parental laccase-negative forms were compared. During exponential (but not stationary) growth under fully aerobic (but not under microaerobic) conditions, the laccase-positive variant lost a respiratory branch that is terminated in a cytochrome c oxidase of the aa(3) type; this was most likely due to a defect in the biosynthesis of a heme component essential for the oxidase. The laccase-positive variant was significantly less sensitive to the inhibitory action of quinone analogs and fully resistant to inhibitors of the bc(1) complex, apparently due to the rearrangements of its respiratory system. We propose that the loss of the cytochrome c oxidase-containing branch in the variant is an adaptive strategy to the presence of intracellular oxidized quinones, the products of laccase activity. (+info)
Genome structure of the genus Azospirillum.
Azospirillum species are plant-associated diazotrophs of the alpha subclass of Proteobacteria. The genomes of five of the six Azospirillum species were analyzed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. All strains possessed several megareplicons, some probably linear, and 16S ribosomal DNA hybridization indicated multiple chromosomes in genomes ranging in size from 4.8 to 9.7 Mbp. The nifHDK operon was identified in the largest replicon. (+info)
Unlabeled helper oligonucleotides increase the in situ accessibility to 16S rRNA of fluorescently labeled oligonucleotide probes.
Target site inaccessibility represents a significant problem for fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) of 16S rRNA with oligonucleotide probes. Here, unlabeled oligonucleotides (helpers) that bind adjacent to the probe target site were evaluated for their potential to increase weak probe hybridization signals in Escherichia coli DSM 30083(T). The use of helpers enhanced the fluorescence signal of all six probes examined at least fourfold. In one case, the signal of probe Eco474 was increased 25-fold with the use of a single helper probe, H440-2. In another case, four unlabeled helpers raised the FISH signal of a formerly weak probe, Eco585, to the level of the brightest monolabeled oligonucleotide probes available for E. coli. The temperature of dissociation and the mismatch discrimination of probes were not significantly influenced by the addition of helpers. Therefore, using helpers should not cause labeling of additional nontarget organisms at a defined stringency of hybridization. However, the helper action is based on sequence-specific binding, and there is thus a potential for narrowing the target group which must be considered when designing helpers. We conclude that helpers can open inaccessible rRNA regions for FISH with oligonucleotide probes and will thereby further improve the applicability of this technique for in situ identification of microorganisms. (+info)
Azospirillum doebereinerae sp. nov., a nitrogen-fixing bacterium associated with the C4-grass Miscanthus.
A new group of nitrogen-fixing Azospirillum sp. bacteria was isolated from the roots of the C4-gramineous plant Miscanthus. Polyphasic taxonomy was performed, including auxanography using API galleries, physiological tests and 16S rRNA sequence comparison. The ability of the isolates to fix dinitrogen was evaluated by amplification of the nifD gene, immunodetection of the dinitrogenase reductase and acetylene-reduction assay. On the basis of these results, the nitrogen-fixing isolates represent a new species within the genus Azospirillum. Its closest phylogenetic neighbours, as deduced by 16S rDNA-based analysis, are Azospirillum lipoferum, Azospirillum largimobile and Azospirillum brasilense with 96.6, 96.6 and 95.9% sequence similarity, respectively. Two 16S rRNA-targeting oligonucleotide probes were developed which differentiate the new species from the other Azospirillum species by whole-cell fluorescence hybridization. Strains of the new species are curved rods or S-shaped, 1.0-1.5 microm in width and 2,0-3.0 microm in length, Gram-negative and motile with a single polar flagellum. Optimum growth occurs at 30 degrees C and at pH values between 6.0 and 7.0. No growth takes place at 37 degrees C. They have a respiratory type of metabolism, grow well on arabinose, D-fructose, gluconate, glucose, glycerol, malate, mannitol and sorbitol. They differ from A. largimobile and A. lipoferum by their inability to use N-acetylglucosamine and D-ribose, from A. lipoferum by their ability to grow without biotin supplementation and from A. brasilense by their growth with D-mannitol and D-sorbitol as sole carbon sources. Nitrogen fixation occurs in microaerobic nitrogen-limited conditions. For this species, the name Azospirillum doebereinerae sp. nov. is suggested, with strain GSF71T as the type strain (= DSM 13131T; reference strain Ma4 = DSM 13400). Its G+C content is 70.7 mol%. (+info)