Jun 23, 2015

Posttranslational modification of a vanadium nitrogenase

Erin K Heiniger, Caroline S Harwood


In microbes that fix nitrogen, nitrogenase catalyzes the conversion of N2 to ammonia in an ATP-demanding reaction. To help conserve energy some bacteria inhibit nitrogenase activity upon exposure to ammonium. The purple nonsulfur phototrophic bacterium Rhodopseudomonas palustris strain CGA009 can synthesize three functional nitrogenase isoenzymes: a molybdenum nitrogenase, a vanadium nitrogenase, and an iron nitrogenase. Previous studies showed that in some alphaproteobacteria, including R. palustris, molybdenum nitrogenase activity is inhibited by ADP-ribosylation when cells are exposed to ammonium. Some iron nitrogenases are also posttranslationally modified. However, the posttranslational modification of vanadium nitrogenase has not been reported. Here, we investigated the regulation of the alternative nitrogenases of R. palustris and determined that both its vanadium nitrogenase and its iron nitrogenase activities were inhibited and posttranslationally modified when cells are exposed to ammonium. Vanadium nitrogenase is not found in all strains of R. palustris, suggesting that it may have been acquired by horizontal gene transfer. Also, phylogenetic analyses of the three nitrogenases suggest that VnfH, the target of ADP-rib...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
Post-Translational Protein Processing
Regulation of Biological Process
Rana palustris
Phylogenetic Analysis
Rosa palustris
Nitrogenase Activity

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