SUMMARY: Mutants of impaired in lithoautotrophic metabolism (Aut) were obtained by Tn5 mutagenesis, mitomycin C treatment or incubation at sublethal temperature. A colony assay provided a fast screening method for hydrogenase-negative mutants. Three classes of mutants were identified: the first had lost the ability to grow autotrophically with H and heterotrophically with NO as nitrogen source; the second lacked both hydrogenase and ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase activity but nitrate metabolism was unaffected; the third retained the activities of the key enzymes of lithoautotrophic metabolism but failed to grow with H and CO. All of the mutants showed the plasmid pattern of the wild-type.


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