Analysis of arsenic resistance in the biomining bacterium, Acidithiobacillus caldus

Kotze, Andries Albertus (2007-03)

Thesis (MSc)--University of Stellenbosch, 2006.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In this study the chromosomal arsenic resistance (ars) genes shown to be present in all Acidithiobacillus. caldus isolates were cloned and sequenced from At. caldus #6. Ten open reading frames (ORFs) were identified on a clone conferring arsenic resistance, with three homologs to arsenic genes, arsC (arsenate reductase), arsR (regulator) and arsB (arsenite export). This ars operon is divergent, with the arsRC and arsB genes transcribed in opposite directions. Analysis of the putative amino acid sequences of these arsRC and arsB genes revealed that they are the most closely related to the ars genes of Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans. These ars genes were functional when transformed into an Escherichia coli ars deletion mutant ACSH50Iq, and conferred increased levels of resistance to arsenate and arsenite. ArsC was required for resistance to arsenate, but not for resistance to arsenite. None of the other ORFs enhanced arsenic resistance in E. coli. A transposon located arsenic resistance system (TnAtcArs) has been described for highly arsenic resistant strains of the moderately thermophilic, sulfur-oxidizing, biomining bacterium At .caldus #6. In the latter study it was shown that TnAtcArs confers higher levels of resistance to arsenate and arsenite than the chromosomal operon. TnAtcArs was conjugated into a weakly ars resistant At. caldus strain (C-SH12) and resulted in greatly increased arsenite resistance. RT-PCR analysis revealed that arsR and arsC are co-transcribed. Despite ORF1 (cadmium inducible-like protein) and ORF5 (putative integrase for prophage CP-933R) not being involved in resistance to arsenic, ORF1 was co-transcribed with arsRC and ORF5 with arsB. Using arsR-lacZ and arsB-lacZ fusions it was shown that the chromosomal ArsR-like regulator of At. caldus acts as a repressor of the arsR and arsB promoter expression. Induction of gene expression took place when either arsenate or arsenite was added. The chromosomal located ArsR was also able to repress TnAtcArs, but the transposon-located ArsR was unable to regulate the chromosomal system.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In hierdie studie is die chromosomale arseen weerstandbiedendheidsgene (ars gene), teenwoordig in alle Acidithiobacillus caldus isolate, gekloon en die DNA volgorde daarvan vanaf At. caldus #6 bepaal. Tien oopleesrame (ORFs) is geïdentifiseer op ‘n kloon wat arseen weerstandbiedend is, met drie homoloog aan ars gene, nl. arsC (arsenaat reduktase), arsR (reguleerder) en arsB (membraan-geleë pomp wat arseniet uitpomp). Die ars operon is gerangskik met die arsRC en arsB gene wat in teenoorgestelde rigtings getranskribeer word. Analise van die afgeleide aminosuurvolgorde van dié ars gene het getoon hulle is naverwant aan die ars gene van Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans. Die ars gene was funksioneel na transformasie na ‘n E. coli ars mutant (ACSH50Iq), en het ‘n hoër vlak van weerstand teen arsenaat en arseniet gebied. ArsC was nodig vir weerstand teen arsenaat, maar nie vir weerstand teen arseniet nie. Geen van die ander ORFs het arseen weerstandbiedendheid in E. coli bevorder nie. Voorheen is ‘n ars operon, geleë op ‘n transposon (TnAtcArs), in ‘n hoogs arseen-weerstandbiedende stam van die middelmatige termofiliese, swawel-oksiderende, bio-ontgunning (“biomining”) bakterie Acidithiobacillus caldus #6 beskryf. In laasgenoemde studie is gevind dat TnAtcArs hoër vlakke van weerstand bied teen arsenaat en arseniet as die chromosomale operon. TnAtcArs is na ‘n lae arseen-weerstandbiedende At. caldus stam (C-SH12) gekonjugeer. Die resultaat was ‘n groot verhoging in arseen weerstandbiedendheid. RT-PCR analise het onthul dat arsR en arsC saam getranskribeer word. Benewens die feit dat ORF1 (kadmium induseerbare protein) en ORF5 (afgeleide integrase vir profaag CP-933R) nie betrokke is in weerstand teen arseniet and arsenaat nie, is ORF1 saam met arsRC getranskribeer en ORF5 saam met arsB. Deur gebruik te maak van die fusie-gene arsR-lacZ en arsB-lacZ is bewys dat die chromosomale ArsR reguleerder van At. caldus as ‘n inhibeerder van die arsR en arsB promoter uitdrukking funksioneer. Indusering van geen uitdrukking vind plaas wanneer arseniet of arsenaat bygevoeg word. Die chromosomaal-geleë ArsR is ook in staat om TnAtcArs te inhibeer, terwyl die transposon geleë ArsR nie daartoe in staat is om die chromosomale ars sisteem te reguleer nie.

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