Navigation Links
Scientists sequence genome of the N2-fixing, soil-living bacterium Azotobacter vinelandii
Date:6/17/2009

Blacksburg, Va. A collaboration of researchers, which includes scientists at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) and Virginia Tech, have completed the genome sequence of Azotobacter vinelandii, uncovering important genetic information that will contribute to a more complete understanding of the biology of this versatile, soil-living bacterium. The work will help advance research on A. vinelandii's role as a model study organism for investigation of nitrogen fixation and other biochemical processes. It will also pave the way for new applications in biotechnology, including the possible use of A. vinelandii as a "factory" for the production of other proteins, in particular those that may be damaged by the presence of oxygen.

A. vinelandii lives in soil and has the ability to convert nitrogen from the atmosphere into ammonia via bacterial enzymes called nitrogenases. Nitrogen fixation is essential for life since different nitrogen-containing molecules are used to produce DNA and the amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins. For most bacteria, the nitrogenase enzymes involved in nitrogen fixation are very susceptible to destruction by oxygen. A. vinelandii is one of the few bacteria that can fix nitrogen in the presence of oxygen, using three distinct nitrogenase systems.

The work of the Azotobacter vinelandii genome project team, which will be featured on the cover of the second July 2009 issue (14) of the Journal of Bacteriology*, identifies unique features of the A. vinelandii genome that explain how the bacteria is involved in oxygen-sensitive reactions such as nitrogen fixation, while maintaining strictly aerobic metabolism.

A. vinelandii has one of the highest respiratory rates of any known bacterium and has the capacity to maintain low levels of cytoplasmic oxygen through a process called respiratory protection. The sequence of the bacteria's genome allowed the team of researchers to identify the genes involved in respiration, including those responsible for respiratory protection. Genome analysis helped pinpoint the chromosomal location of the three known oxygen-sensitive nitrogenases, as well as the genes that code for other oxygen-sensitive enzymes such as carbon-monoxide dehydrogenase and a formate dehydrogenase. The sequence also provided important information on the genes that code for alginate, a polymer that further protects the organism from excess oxygen by forming a physical barrier around the bacterium.

"A. vinelandii is an attractive model organism for biochemical studies because of its ability to produce high yields of quality enzymes," said Joo Setubal, associate professor at VBI and the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. "The findings in this study provide new prospects for the wider application of this bacterium as a factory for the production and characterization of oxygen-sensitive proteins through the use of genetic approaches to achieve high-level protein expression."

According to Ray Dixon, project lead in Molecular Biology at the John Innes Centre in the United Kingdom, "The international collaboration created by the Azotobacter genome project was an integral part of the discovery of these unexpected anaerobic processes in A. vinelandii, which confirmed the importance of this organism as a host for the expression and purification of oxygen-sensitive enzymes."

The work will also provide more information about the unique biosynthetic pathways involved in the bacteria's ability to adapt its metabolism to diverse sources of nutrients. For example, if no carbon source is present, A. vinelandii will undergo a differentiation process, forming cysts that are resistant to desiccation and other chemical and physical challenges.

A. vinelandii belongs to the Pseudomonadaceae family. The completion of the A. vinelandii genome will serve as an essential phylogenetic anchor point for comparative genomics work with other systems. This research has also helped the Azotobacter vinelandii genome project expand its existing undergraduate training platform in genomics technology. Undergraduate researchers from around the world worked on many aspects of the project, including the finishing, annotation, bioinformatics, and analytical phases. This work provided critical training for these new scientists in the fields of genomics and bioinformatics.

"The key to the success of this project was an extremely effective multinational collaboration between Azotobacter biologists and our core genomics team," explained Derek Wood, associate professor in Seattle Pacific University's Department of Biology and the University of Washington's Department of Microbiology. "Numerous undergraduate researchers both in the classroom and in the laboratory worked closely with the team on annotation and analyses. This multilevel interdisciplinary collaboration led to an excellent annotation and informed analysis of this model bacterial system and provided an excellent training platform for our undergraduate partners."

According to Dennis Dean, biochemistry professor in Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of the Fralin Life Science Institute, "Given the long history of Virginia Tech's research involving nitrogen fixation studies, including work from J.S. Chen, Bill Newton, and others, it is particularly satisfying that the university has contributed to this important endeavor."


'/>"/>

Contact: Susan Bland
subland@vbi.vt.edu
540-231-7912
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Horse whisperers, lion tamers not needed: Scientists find genetic regions that soothe savage beasts
2. Scientists should look at their own carbon footprint
3. Scientists tackle the mystery of white-nose syndrome in bats
4. Scientists examine perceptions of risk and the spread of disease
5. Scientists discover new genetic immune disorder in children
6. Scientists uncover mode of action of enzyme linked with several types of cancer
7. Scientists unravel the mystery of white-nose syndrome
8. Seventy-three scientists elected to the American Academy of Microbiology
9. Scientists examine human behavior and the threat of disease
10. Singapore scientists elected into National Academy of Sciences
11. Scientists explain how death receptors designed to kill our cells may make them stronger
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:8/15/2017)... 2017   ivWatch LLC , a medical device company focused ... announced receipt of its ISO 13485 Certification, the global standard for ... for Standardization (ISO®). ... 400 Continuous Monitoring device for the early detection of IV infiltrations. ... "This is an important milestone for ivWatch, ...
(Date:6/30/2017)... , June 30, 2017 Today, American ... and supplier of face and eye tracking software, ... Product provider program. "Artificial intelligence ... way to monitor a driver,s attentiveness levels while ... being able to detect fatigue and prevent potential ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... -- IBM (NYSE: IBM ) is introducing several innovative partner ... developing collaboration between startups and global businesses, taking place in ... event, nine startups will showcase the solutions they have built ... France is one of ... 30 percent increase in the number of startups created between ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/21/2017)... Colmar (France) , ... (PRWEB) September 21, 2017 ... ... is an international scientific and technical congress to review the latest knowledge on ... panel of prestigious international speakers will discuss the impact of Biostimulants on Plant ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Lajollacooks4u welcomed the San Diego chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier ... professional women with high achievement in the fields of food, fine beverage and hospitality, ... members began with an olive oil tasting to whet their palettes and then rolled ...
(Date:9/20/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... September 20, ... ... (IPS), a leading global provider of engineering, architecture, project controls, construction management, ... prefabricated cleanrooms, today announced the unveiling of the iCON™ brand which represents ...
(Date:9/20/2017)... , ... September 20, 2017 , ... ... and building management solutions, announced today the opening of an office in Taipei, ... and the Greater China region, while developing new relationships in the region. Located ...
Breaking Biology Technology: