Biosynthesis of indole-3-acetic acid in Azospirillum brasilense. Insights from quantum chemistry. (1/107)

Quantum chemical methods AM1 and PM3 and chromatographic methods were used to qualitatively characterize pathways of bacterial production of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA). The standard free energy changes (delta G(o)'sum) for the synthesis of tryptophan (Trp) from chorismic acid via anthranilic acid and indole were calculated, as were those for several possible pathways for the synthesis of IAA from Trp, namely via indole-3-acetamide (IAM), indole-3-pyruvic acid (IPyA), and indole-3-acetonitrile (IAN). The delta G(o)'sum for Trp synthesis from chorismic acid was -402 (-434) kJ.mol-1 (values in parentheses were calculated by PM3). The delta G(o)'sum for IAA synthesis from Trp were -565 (-548) kJ.mol-1 for the IAN pathway, -481 (-506) kJ.mol-1 for the IAM pathway, and -289 (-306) kJ.mol-1 for the IPyA pathway. By HPLC analysis, the possibility was assessed that indole, anthranilic acid, and Trp might be utilized as precursors for IAA synthesis by Azospirillum brasilense strain Sp 245. The results indicate that there is a high motive force for Trp synthesis from chorismic acid and for IAA synthesis from Trp, and make it unlikely that anthranilic acid and indole act as the precursors to IAA in a Trp-independent pathway.  (+info)

Azospirillum irakense produces a novel type of pectate lyase. (2/107)

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)

Involvement of outer-membrane proteins in the aggregation of Azospirillum brasilense. (3/107)

A bioassay was developed to investigate biological factors involved in the aggregation of Azospirillum brasilense strain Cd. Cells were grown for 24 h under aggregation-inducing and non-aggregation-inducing conditions (high and low C:N, respectively) and sonicated for 20 s. The cells were washed by centrifugation and resuspended in potassium phosphate buffer containing the two types of sonication extract. A greater extent of aggregation and higher flocculation were observed after 2-3 h incubation in the presence of sonicates from cells grown at high C:N (H-cells) compared to cells grown at low C:N. Flocculation did not occur after incubation of these cells in phosphate buffer. Boiled or proteinase K-treated sonicates originating from H-cells had lower aggregation-inducing capacity. After fractionation of the crude sonicate, both the outer-membrane protein (OMP) and the total membrane (mostly OMP) fractions possessed relatively high aggregation specific activities. The aggregation-inducing capacity of the OMP fraction strongly correlated with its protein concentration in the bioassay. Treatment of this fraction with proteinase K also decreased its aggregation-inducing activity. These findings suggest that OMPs are involved in the aggregation process of cells of A. brasilense.  (+info)

The ntrB and ntrC genes are involved in the regulation of poly-3-hydroxybutyrate biosynthesis by ammonia in Azospirillum brasilense Sp7. (4/107)

Azospirillum brasilense Sp7 and its ntrA (rpoN), ntrBC, and ntrC mutants have been evaluated for their capabilities of poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) accumulation in media with high and low ammonia concentrations. It was observed that the ntrBC and ntrC mutants can produce PHB in both low- and high-C/N-ratio media, while no significant PHB production was observed for the wild type or the ntrA mutant in low-C/N-ratio media. Further investigation by fermentation analysis indicated that the ntrBC and ntrC mutants were able to grow and accumulate PHB simultaneously in the presence of a high concentration of ammonia in the medium, while little PHB was produced in the wild type and ntrA (rpoN) mutant during active growth phase. These results provide the first genetic evidence that the ntrB and ntrC genes are involved in the regulation of PHB synthesis by ammonia in A. brasilense Sp7.  (+info)

Increased growth of the microalga Chlorella vulgaris when coimmobilized and cocultured in alginate beads with the plant-growth-promoting bacterium Azospirillum brasilense. (5/107)

Coimmobilization of the freshwater microalga Chlorella vulgaris and the plant-growth-promoting bacterium Azospirillum brasilense in small alginate beads resulted in a significantly increased growth of the microalga. Dry and fresh weight, total number of cells, size of the microalgal clusters (colonies) within the bead, number of microalgal cells per cluster, and the levels of microalgal pigments significantly increased. Light microscopy revealed that both microorganisms colonized the same cavities inside the beads, though the microalgae tended to concentrate in the more aerated periphery while the bacteria colonized the entire bead. The effect of indole-3-acetic acid addition to microalgal culture prior to immobilization of microorganisms in alginate beads partially imitated the effect of A. brasilense. We propose that coimmobilization of microalgae and plant-growth-promoting bacteria is an effective means of increasing microalgal populations within confined environments.  (+info)

Functional properties of recombinant Azospirillum brasilense glutamate synthase, a complex iron-sulfur flavoprotein. (6/107)

Azospirillum brasilense glutamate synthase is a complex iron-sulfur flavoprotein that catalyses the NADPH-dependent reductive transfer of glutamine amide group to the C(2) carbon of 2-oxoglutarate to yield L-glutamate. Its catalytically active alphabeta protomer is composed of two dissimilar subunits (alpha subunit, 164.2 kDa; beta subunit, 52.3 kDa) and contains one FAD (at Site 1, the pyridine nucleotide site within the beta subunit), one FMN (at Site 2, the 2-oxoglutarate/L-glutamate site in the alpha subunit) and three different iron-sulfur clusters (one 3Fe-4S center on the alpha subunit and two 4Fe-4S clusters of unknown location). A plasmid harboring the gltD and gltB genes, the genes encoding the glutamate synthase beta and alpha subunits, respectively, each one under the control of the T7/lac promoter of pET11a was found to be suitable for the overproduction of glutamate synthase holoenzyme in Escherichia coli BL21(DE3) cells. Recombinant A. brasilense glutamate synthase could be purified to homogeneity from overproducing E. coli cells by ion exchange chromatography, gel filtration and affinity chromatography on a 2',5' ADP-Sepharose 4B column. The purified enzyme was indistinguishable from that prepared from Azospirillum cells with respect to cofactor content, N-terminal sequence of the subunits, aggregation state, kinetic and spectroscopic properties. The study of the recombinant holoenzyme allowed us to establish that the tendency of glutamate synthase to form a stable (alphabeta)4 tetramer at high protein concentrations is a property unique to the holoenzyme, as the isolated beta subunit does not oligomerize, while the isolated glutamate synthase alpha subunit only forms dimers at high protein concentrations. Furthermore, the steady-state kinetic analysis of the glutamate synthase reaction was extended to the study of the effect of adenosine-containing nucleotides. Compounds such as cAMP, AMP, ADP and ATP have no effect on the enzyme activity, while the 2'-phosphorylated analogs of AMP and NADP(H) analogs act as inhibitors of the reaction, competitive with NADPH. Thus, it can be ruled out that glutamate synthase reaction is subjected to allosteric modulation by adenosine containing (di)nucleotides, which may bind to the putative ADP-binding site at the C-terminus of the alpha subunit. At the same time, the strict requirement of a 2'-phosphate group in the pyridine nucleotide for binding to glutamate synthase (GltS) was established. Finally, by comparing the inhibition constants exhibited by a series of NADP+ analogs, the contribution to the binding energy of the various parts of the pyridine nucleotide has been determined along with the effect of substituents on the 3 position of the pyridine ring. With the exception of thio-NADP+, which binds the tightest to GltS, it appears that the size of the substituent is the factor that affects the most the interaction between the NADP(H) analog and the enzyme.  (+info)

Mutants with enhanced nitrogenase activity in hydroponic Azospirillum brasilense-wheat associations. (7/107)

The effect of a mutation affecting flocculation, differentiation into cyst-like forms, and root colonization on nitrogenase expression by Azospirillum brasilense is described. The gene flcA of strain Sp7 restored these phenotypes in spontaneous mutants of both strains Sp7 and Sp245. Employing both constitutive pLA-lacZ and nifH-lacZ reporter fusions expressed in situ, the colony morphology, colonization pattern, and potential for nitrogenase activity of spontaneous mutants and flcA Tn5-induced mutants were established. The results of this study show that the ability of Sp7 and Sp245 mutant strains to remain in a vegetative form improved their ability to express nitrogenase activity in association with wheat in a hydroponic system. Restoring the cyst formation and colonization pattern to the spontaneous mutant Sp7-S reduced nitrogenase activity rates in association with plants to that of the wild-type Sp7. Although Tn5-induced flcA mutants showed higher potentials for nitrogenase expression than Sp7, their potentials were lower than that of Sp7-S, indicating that other factors in this strain contribute to its exceptional nitrogenase activity rates on plants. The lack of lateral flagella is not one of these factors, as Sp7-PM23, a spontaneous mutant impaired in swarming and lateral-flagellum production but not in flocculation, showed wild-type nitrogenase activity and expression. The results also suggest factors of importance in evolving an effective symbiosis between Azospirillum and wheat, such as increasing the availability of microaerobic niches along the root, increased supply of carbon sources by the plant, and the retention of the bacterial cells in vegetative form for faster metabolism.  (+info)

Energy taxis is the dominant behavior in Azospirillum brasilense. (8/107)

Energy taxis encompasses aerotaxis, phototaxis, redox taxis, taxis to alternative electron acceptors, and chemotaxis to oxidizable substrates. The signal for this type of behavior is originated within the electron transport system. Energy taxis was demonstrated, as a part of an overall behavior, in several microbial species, but it did not appear as the dominant determinant in any of them. In this study, we show that most behavioral responses proceed through this mechanism in the alpha-proteobacterium Azospirillum brasilense. First, chemotaxis to most chemoeffectors typical of the azospirilla habitat was found to be metabolism dependent and required a functional electron transport system. Second, other energy-related responses, such as aerotaxis, redox taxis, and taxis to alternative electron acceptors, were found in A. brasilense. Finally, a mutant lacking a cytochrome c oxidase of the cbb(3) type was affected in chemotaxis, redox taxis, and aerotaxis. Altogether, the results indicate that behavioral responses to most stimuli in A. brasilense are triggered by changes in the electron transport system.  (+info)