Clostridium pasteurianum W5 synthesizes two NifH-related polypeptides under nitrogen-fixing conditions

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Kasap M. , Chen J.

MICROBIOLOGY-SGM, vol.151, pp.2353-2362, 2005 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 151
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Doi Number: 10.1099/mic.0.27931-0
  • Title of Journal : MICROBIOLOGY-SGM
  • Page Numbers: pp.2353-2362


Previous studies identified five nifH-like genes (nifH2 through nifH6) in Clostridium pasteurianum (strain W5), where the nifH1 gene encodes the nitrogenase iron protein. Transcripts of these nifH genes, with the exception of nifH3, were detected in molybdenum-sufficient nitrogen-fixing cells. However, the size of the transcripts, the level of transcription and the presence of polypeptides encoded by the nifH-like genes were not reported. The nifH2 and nifH6 genes were extremely similar, as they seemed to differ by only two bases in a span of 2481 bp, one in the coding region and another in the upstream region. Re-examination of the DNA sequences revealed that the coding region of nifH2 and nifH6 was identical, whereas the difference in the upstream region was confirmed. Results from the authors' ongoing study of the nif genes of single-colony isolates of C. pasteurianum suggest that the nifH6 designation should be eliminated. Here the size of mRNA from nifH2 and the detection of the NifH2 polypeptide in nitrogen-fixing cells of C. pasteurianum are reported. Northern blot analysis of periodically collected nitrogen-fixing cells showed that the nifH1 and nifH2 mRNAs were present throughout growth. Addition of ammonium acetate repressed the transcription of both these genes similarly. Using an antiserum raised against NifH of Azotobacter vinelandii, two NifH-related bands were detected by Western blot analysis after electrophoretic separation of proteins in extracts of nitrogen-fixing C. pasteurianum cells. After separation of proteins by preparative SIDS-PAGE, the NifH polypeptides were characterized by MALDI-TOF-MS (matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry) and by ES-MS/MS (electrospray tandem mass spectrometry) analyses. The results confirmed the presence of NifH2, in addition to NifH1, in nitrogen-fixing C. pasteurianum cells.