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Identification and characterization of a gene cluster involved in manganese oxidation by spores of the marine Bacillus sp. strain SG-1.

  • L G van Waasbergen
  • M Hildebrand
  • B M Tebo
Publication Date
Jun 01, 1996
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Design


The marine Bacillus sp. strain SG-1 forms spores that oxidize manganese(II) as a result of the activities of uncharacterized components of its spore coat. Nucleotide sequence analysis of chromosomal loci previously identified through insertion mutagenesis as being involved in manganese oxidation identified seven possible genes (designated mnxA to mnxG) in what appears to be an operon. A potential recognition site for the sporulation, mother-cell-specific, RNA polymerase sigma factor, sigmaK, was located just upstream of the cluster, and correspondingly, measurement of beta-galactosidase activity from a Tn917-lacZ insertion in mnxD showed expression at mid-sporulation to late sporulation (approximately stage IV to V of sporulation). Spores of nonoxidizing mutants appeared unaffected with respect to their temperature and chemical resistance properties and germination characteristics. However, transmission electron microscopy revealed alterations in the outermost spore coat. This suggests that products of these genes may be involved in the deposition of the spore coat structure and/or are spore coat proteins themselves. Regions of the deduced protein product of mnxG showed amino acid sequence similarity to the family of multicopper oxidases, a diverse group of proteins that use multiple copper ions to oxidize a variety of substrates. Similar regions included those that are involved in binding of copper, and the addition of copper at a low concentration was found to enhance manganese oxidation by the spores. This suggests that the product of this gene may function like a copper oxidase and that it may be directly responsible for the oxidation of manganese by the spores.

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