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Mechanisms of chromium and uranium toxicity in pseudomonas stutzeri RCH2 grown under anaerobic nitrate-reducing conditions

  • Author(s): Thorgersen, MP
  • Andrew Lancaster, W
  • Ge, X
  • Zane, GM
  • Wetmore, KM
  • Vaccaro, BJ
  • Poole, FL
  • Younkin, AD
  • Deutschbauer, AM
  • Arkin, AP
  • Wall, JD
  • Adams, MWW
  • et al.
Abstract

© 2017 Thorgersen, Lancaster, Ge, Zane, Wetmore, Vaccaro, Poole, Younkin, Deutschbauer, Arkin, Wall and Adams. Chromium and uranium are highly toxic metals that contaminate many natural environments. We investigated their mechanisms of toxicity under anaerobic conditions using nitrate-reducing Pseudomonas stutzeri RCH2, which was originally isolated from a chromium-contaminated aquifer. A random barcode transposon site sequencing library of RCH2 was grown in the presence of the chromate oxyanion (Cr[VI]O2-4) or uranyl oxycation (U[VI]O2+2). Strains lacking genes required for a functional nitrate reductase had decreased fitness as both metals interacted with heme-containing enzymes required for the later steps in the denitrification pathway after nitrate is reduced to nitrite. Cr[VI]-resistance also required genes in the homologous recombination and nucleotide excision DNA repair pathways, showing that DNA is a target of Cr[VI] even under anaerobic conditions. The reduced thiol pool was also identified as a target of Cr[VI] toxicity and psest_2088, a gene of previously unknown function, was shown to have a role in the reduction of sulfite to sulfide. U[VI] resistance mechanisms involved exopolysaccharide synthesis and the universal stress protein UspA. As the first genome-wide fitness analysis of Cr[VI] and U[VI] toxicity under anaerobic conditions, this study provides new insight into the impact of Cr[VI] and U[VI] on an environmental isolate from a chromium contaminated site, as well as into the role of a ubiquitous protein, Psest_2088.

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