1887

Abstract

Various enzymic systems, such as nitrite reductase, sulfite reductase and glutathione reductase, have been proposed for, or suspected to be involved in, the reduction of selenite in bacteria. As alphaproteobacteria have been shown to be highly tolerant to transition metal oxyanions, it seemed interesting to investigate the hypothetical involvement of these different enzymes in the reduction of selenite in the purple non-sulfur bacteria and . The hypothetical involvement of nitrite reductase and sulfite reductase in the reduction of selenite in these bacteria was investigated by analysing the effects of nitrite and sulfite amendments on the growth and kinetics of selenite reduction. The reduction of selenite was not concomitant with that of either sulfite or nitrite in , suggesting that the reduction pathways operate independently. In , strong interactions were observed between the nitrite reduction and selenite reduction pathways. However, in both organisms, selenite reduction took place during both the growth phase and the stationary phase, indicating that selenite metabolism is constitutively expressed. In contrast, neither nitrite nor sulfite was transformed during stationary phase, suggesting that the metabolism of both ions is induced, which implies that identical reduction pathways for selenite and nitrite or selenite and sulfite are excluded. Buthionine sulfoximine (BSO, --butyl homocysteine sulfoximine), a specific inhibitor of glutathione synthesis, was used to depress the intracellular glutathione level. In stationary-phase cultures of both and amended with BSO, the rate of reduction of selenite was slowed, indicating that glutathione may be involved in the dissimilatory reduction of selenite in these organisms. The analysis of the headspace gases of the cultures indicated that the synthesis of methylated selenium compounds was prevented in the presence of 3·0 mM BSO in both organisms, implying that glutathione is also involved in the transformation of selenite to volatile selenium compounds.

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2006-03-01
2019-11-21
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