Environmental biology

Bacillus sp. CDB3 isolated from cattle dip-sites possesses two ars gene clusters

Somanath Bhat , Xi Luo , Zhiqiang Xu , Lixia Liu , Ren Zhang


Received January 29, 2010,Revised August 31, 2010, Accepted , Available online

Volume 23,2011,Pages 95-101

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Contamination of soil and water by arsenic is a global problem. In Australia, the dipping of cattle in arsenic-containing solution to control cattle ticks in last centenary has left many sites heavily contaminated with arsenic and other toxicants. We had previously isolated five soil bacterial strains (CDB1-5) highly resistant to arsenic. To understand the resistance mechanism, molecular studies have been carried out. Two chromosome-encoded arsenic resistance (ars) gene clusters have been cloned from CDB3 (Bacillus sp.). They both function in Escherichia coli and cluster 1 exerts a much higher resistance to the toxic metalloid. Cluster 2 is smaller possessing four open reading frames (ORFs) arsRorf2BC, similar to that identified in Bacillus subtilis Skin element. Among the eight ORFs in cluster 1 five are analogs of common ars genes found in other bacteria, however, organized in a unique order arsRBCDA instead of arsRDABC. Three other putative genes are located directly downstream and designated as arsTIP based on the homologies of their theoretical translation sequences respectively to thioredoxin reductases, iron-sulphur cluster proteins and protein phosphatases. The latter two are novel of any known ars operons. The arsD gene from Bacillus species was cloned for the first time and the predict protein di ers from the well studied E. coli ArsD by lacking two pairs of C-terminal cysteine residues. Its functional involvement in arsenic resistance has been confirmed by a deletion experiment. There exists also an inverted repeat in the intergenic region between arsC and arsD implying some unknown transcription regulation.

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