PMID: 6938981Dec 1, 1980

Evidence for an alternative nitrogen fixation system in Azotobacter vinelandii

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
P E BishopD R Hetherington


Two Azotobacter vinelandii strains capable of growing on N2(Nif+) were isolated from two different mutant strains that lacked dinitrogenase activity (Nif-). Extracts of N2-grown cells of the two Nif+ strains lacked significant amounts of the "conventional" dinitrogenase protein subunits, as determined by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Instead, the extracts contained at least four new proteins that appeared to be ammonia-repressible (i.e., they were not detected in extracts of ammonia-grown cells). Based on the results of genetic backcrosses, the two Nif+ strains were shown to be pseudorevertants. Both Nif+ pseudorevertant strains were able to grow in N-free media lacking molybdenum but containing tungsten (conditions that prevented growth of the wild-type strain). The four new proteins were observed in extracts of N2-fixing cells of the Nif+ pseudorevertants regardless of whether the cells were grown in the presence of molybdenum-starved wild-type A. vinelandii cells grown under N2-fixing conditions. Under conditions of molybdenum deprivation, Nif- mutant strains of several different phenotypic classes underwent phenotypic reversal to Nif+, as shown by their ability to incorporate 15N2 and to grow in N-free media. These r...Continue Reading


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