Are there multiple mechanisms of anaerobic sulfur oxidation with ferric iron in Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans?

Jiri Kucera, Eva Pakostova, Jan Lochman, Oldrich Janiczek, Martin Mandl

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25 Citations (Scopus)
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To clarify the pathway of anaerobic sulfur oxidation coupled with dissimilatory ferric iron reduction in Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans strain CCM 4253 cells, we monitored their energy metabolism gene transcript profiles. Several genes encoding electron transporters involved in aerobic iron and sulfur respiration were induced during anaerobic growth of ferrous iron-grown cells. Most sulfur metabolism genes were either expressed at the basal level or their expression declined. However, transcript levels of genes assumed to be responsible for processing of elemental sulfur and other sulfur intermediates were elevated at the beginning of the growth period. In contrast, genes with predicted functions in formation of hydrogen sulfide and sulfate were significantly repressed. The main proposed mechanism involves: outer membrane protein Cyc2
(assumed to function as a terminal ferric iron reductase); periplasmic electron shuttle rusticyanin; c4-type cytochrome CycA1; the inner membrane cytochrome bc1 complex I; and the quinone pool providing connection to the sulfur metabolism machinery, consisting of heterodisulfide reductase, thiosulfate:quinone oxidoreductase and tetrathionate hydrolase. However, an alternative mechanism seems to involve a high potential iron-sulfur protein Hip, c4-type cytochrome CycA2 and inner membrane cytochrome bc1 complex II. Our results conflict with findings regarding the type strain, indicating strain- or phenotype-dependent pathway variation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-366
Number of pages10
JournalResearch in Microbiology
Issue number5
Early online date23 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Research in Microbiology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Research in Microbiology, 167:5, (2016) DOI: 10.1016/j.resmic.2016.02.004

© 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


  • Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans
  • Anaerobic respiration pathway
  • Sulfur metabolism
  • Ferric iron reduction
  • Real-time quantitative PCR


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