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Bacterial genes involved in incorporation of nickel into a bhydrogenase enzyme

Fu, C., Javedan, S., Moshiri, F., Maier, R.J.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 1994 v.91 no.11 pp. 5099-5103
ferredoxin hydrogenase, metabolism, apoproteins, structural genes, binding proteins, amino acid sequences, Bradyrhizobium japonicum, nickel, promoter regions
Nickel is an essential component of all H2-uptake hydrogenases. A fragment of DNA that complements a H2-uptake-deficient but nickel-cured mutant strain (JHK7) of Bradyrhizobium japonicum was isolated and sequenced. This 4.5-kb DNA fragment contains four open reading frames designated as ORF1, hupN, hupO, and hupP, which encode polypeptides with predicted masses of 17, 40, 19, and 63.5 kDa, respectively. The last three open reading frames (hupNOP) are most likely organized as an operon with a putative sigma(54)-type promoter. Based on its hydropathy profile, HupN is predicted to be a transmembrane protein. It has 56% identity to the previously described HoxN (high-affinity nickel transport protein) of Alcaligenes eutrophus. A subclone (pJF23) containing the hupNOP genes excluding ORF1 completely complemented (in trans) strain JHK7 for hydrogenase activity in low nickel conditions. pJF26 containing only a functional hupN complemented the hydrogenase activity of mutant strain JHK7 to 30-55% of the wild-type level. Mutant strain JHK70, with a chromosomal deletion in hupP but with an intact hupNO, showed greater activities than pJF26-complemented JHK7 but still had lower activities than the wild type at all nickel levels tested. pJF25, containing the entire hupO and hupP, but without hupN (a portion of hupN was deleted), did not complement hydrogenase activity of mutant strain JHK7. The results suggest that the products of the hupNOP operon are all involved in nickel incorporation/metabolism into the hydrogenase apoprotein. Based on (previous) nickel transport studies of strain JHK7, the hupNOP genes appear not to be involved in nickel transport by whole cells. The deleterious effects on hydrogenase expression are most pronounced by lack of the HupN product.