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Alyssa Jean Lehsau Findlay

Disguised as a sulfate reducer: Growth of the Deltaproteobacterium Desulfurivibrio alkaliphilus by Sulfide Oxidation with Nitrate

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This study demonstrates that the deltaproteobacterium Desulfurivibrio
alkaliphilus can grow chemolithotrophically by coupling sulfide oxidation to the dissimilatory reduction of nitrate and nitrite to ammonium. Key genes of known sulfide oxidation pathways are absent from the genome of D. alkaliphilus. Instead, the genome contains all of the genes necessary for sulfate reduction, including a gene for
a reductive-type dissimilatory bisulfite reductase (DSR). Despite this, growth by sulfate
reduction was not observed. Transcriptomic analysis revealed a very high expression
level of sulfate-reduction genes during growth by sulfide oxidation, while inhibition experiments with molybdate pointed to elemental sulfur/polysulfides as intermediates. Consequently, we propose that D. alkaliphilus initially oxidizes sulfide
to elemental sulfur, which is then either disproportionated, or oxidized by a reversal
of the sulfate reduction pathway. This is the first study providing evidence that a
reductive-type DSR is involved in a sulfide oxidation pathway. Transcriptome sequencing further suggests that nitrate reduction to ammonium is performed by a
novel type of periplasmic nitrate reductase and an unusual membrane-anchored nitrite reductase.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00671-17
JournalmBio (Online)
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2017

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