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A Megaplasmid-Borne Anaerobic Ribonucleotide Reductase in Alcaligenes eutrophus H16

  • Anja Siedow
  • Rainer Cramm
  • Roman A. Siddiqui
  • Bärbel Friedrich
American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
Aug 01, 1999
  • Biology


The conjugative 450-kb megaplasmid pHG1 is essential for the anaerobic growth of Alcaligenes eutrophus H16 in the presence of nitrate as the terminal electron acceptor. We identified two megaplasmid-borne genes (nrdD and nrdG) which are indispensable under these conditions. Sequence alignment identified significant similarity of the 76.2-kDa gene product NrdD and the 30.9-kDa gene product NrdG with anaerobic class III ribonucleotide reductases and their corresponding activases. Deletion of nrdD and nrdG in A. eutrophus abolished anaerobic growth and led to the formation of nondividing filamentous cells, a typical feature of bacteria whose DNA synthesis is blocked. Enzyme activity of NrdD-like ribonucleotide reductases is dependent on a stable radical at a glycine residue in a conserved C-terminal motif. A mutant of A. eutrophus with a G650A exchange in NrdD showed the DNA-deficient phenotype as the deletion strain, suggesting that G650 forms the glycyl radical. Analysis of transcriptional and translational fusions indicate that nrdD and nrdG are cotranscribed and that the translation efficiency of nrdD is 40-fold higher than that of nrdG. Thus, the two proteins NrdD and NrdG are not synthesized at a stoichiometric level.

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