The identification and characterisation of the arsenic resistance genes of the gram-positive bacterium, Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans VKM B-1269T

Van der Merwe, Jacobus Arnoldus (2007-03)

Thesis (MSc)--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The arsenic resistance operon (ars operon) of the Gram-positive, iron-oxidizing, acidophilic, moderately thermophilic bacterium, Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans VKM B-1269T (Sb. t. VKM B-1269T), was isolated and characterised. The ars operon was chromosomally located and consisted of an arsR (codes for a transcriptional regulator) and an arsB (codes for a membrane located arsenic/antimony efflux pump). The arsRB genes were transcribed in the same direction. An arsC (codes for an arsenate reductase), usually associated with ars operons, was absent from this ars operon. PCR and Southern-hybridization experiments revealed that no arsC, representative of either the Grx/GSH or Trx ArsC families was present in the genome of Sb. t. VKM B-1269T. An interesting feature of the ars operon was the presence of a gene encoding a 525 amino acid (60.83 kDa) kumamolisin-As precursor located upstream of the arsRB operon. The intergenic region between the termination end of the kumamolisin-As precursor gene and the transcriptional start of the arsR gene was only 77 bp, suggesting that this ars operon might consist of three genes. RT-PCR analysis showed that the ars operon of Sb. t. VKM B-1269T, was not co-transcribed with the kumamolisin-As precursor gene in its native Sulfobacillus host. The ars operon of Sb. t. VKM B-1269T did not complement an Escherichia coli arsenic sensitive mutant. mRNA transcript analysis and promoter expression studies confirmed that processes involved in the production of functional proteins from the ars operon transcript were likely to be responsible for the inability of the arsRB operon of Sb. t. VKM B-1269T to confer resistance to arsenic in the heterologous E. coli host. Eight Sulfobacillus strains isolated from different geographical areas were subjected to amplified ribosomal DNA restriction enzyme analysis (ARDREA) using the restriction endonuclease Eco1015 (SnaBI) and revealed that they could be divided into the proposed Sulfobacillus spp. subgroup I and subgroup II, respectively (Johnson et al., 2005). The presence, distribution and relatedness of the ars genes among members of genus Sulfobacillus was determined. Phylogenetic sequence comparisons revealed two clearly defined arsB clusters within genus Sulfobacillus and showed that the arsB of a specific Sulfobacillus sub specie is distinctive of that specific Sulfobacillus sub specie. Futhermore, sequence analysis of the isolated arsB homologue fragments from the respective Sulfobacillus spp. showed that four distinctive profiles could be identified based on differences in the location of restriction endonuclease recognition sites.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die arseen weerstandbiedendheidsoperon (ars operon) van die Gram-positiewe, ysteroksiderende, asidofiliese, matige termofiliese bakterium, Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans VKM B-1269T (Sb. t. VKM B-1269T), was geïsoleer en gekarakteriseer. Die ars operon was op die chromosoom geleë en het uit ‘n arsR (kodeer vir ‘n transkripsionele reguleerder) en ‘n arsB (kodeer vir ‘n membraan geleë arseen/timien uitskeidings pomp) bestaan. Die arsRB gene word in dieselfde rigting getranskribeer. ‘n arsC (kodeer vir ‘n arsenaat reductase), wat gewoontlik geassosïeer word met ars operons, was afwesig van hierdie ars operon. PKR en Southern-hibridisasie eksperimente het aangedui dat geen arsC, verteenwoordigend van beide die Grx/GSH of Trx ArsC families, nie teenwoordig was in die genoom van Sb. t. VKM B-1269T, nie. ‘n Interressante eienskap van hierdie ars operon was die teenwoordigheid van ‘n geen wat stroom-op van die arsRB operon geleë is en ‘n 525 amino suur (60.83 kDa) kumamolisin-As voorloper kodeer. Die intergeniese gedeelte tussen die terminerings einde van die kumamolisin-As voorloper en die transkriptionele begin van die arsR geen was slegs 77 bp, wat voorgestel het dat die ars operon moontlik uit drie gene bestaan. RT-PKR analiese het bewys dat die ars operon van Sb. t. VKM B-1269T, nie geko-getranskribeer word met die kumamolisin-As voorloper in sy oorspronklike Sulfobacillus gasheer nie. Die ars operon van Sb. t. VKM B-1269T, het nie ‘n Escherichia coli arseen sensitiewe mutant gekomplimenteer nie. mRNA transkrip-analiese en promoter uitdrukkings eksperimente het bevestig dat prosesse wat betrokke is in die produksie van funksionele proteïene vanaf die ars operon transkrip, moontlik vir die onvermoë van die arsRB operon van Sb t. VKM B-1269T verantwoordelik was om weerstandbiedendheid teen arseen in die heteroloë E. coli gasheer te verleen. Agt Sulfobacillus stamme wat geïsoleer is vanuit verskillende geografiese areas, was onderhewig aan geamplifiseerde ribosomale DNA restriksie-ensiem-analiese (ARDREA) deur gebruik te maak van restriksie endonuklease Eco1015 (SnaBI) en het aangedui dat hulle in die voorgestelde Sulfobacillus spp. subgroup I en subgroup II ingedeel kan word (Johnson et al., 2005). Die aanwesigheid, verspreiding en verwantskappe van die ars gene tussen lede van genus Sulfobacillus was bepaal. Filogenetiese DNA volgorde vergelykings het aangedui dat twee duidelik definïeerbare arsB groepe van mekaar onderskei kan word en dat die arsB van ‘n spesifieke Sulfobacillus sub spesie uniek tot daardie spesifieke Sulfobacillus subspesie is. Bykomend, DNA volgorde analiese van die geïsoleerde arsB homoloog fragmente van die Sulfobacillus spp. het gewys dat vier unieke profiele, op grond van verskille in die ligging van restriksie ensiem herkenning setels, geïdentifiseer kan word.

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