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Published March 1994 | Published
Journal Article Open

Isolation, Phenotypic Characterization, and Complementation Analysis of Mutants of Methylobacterium extorquens AM1 Unable To Synthesize Pyrroloquinoline Quinone and Sequences of pqqD, pqqG, and pqqC


Aerobic gram-negative methylotrophs oxidize methanol to formaldehyde by using a methanol dehydrogenase that has pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) as a prosthetic group. Seventy-two mutants which are unable to grow on methanol unless the growth medium is supplemented with PQQ have been isolated in the facultative methanol utilizer Methylobacterium extorquens AM1. In addition, 12 previously isolated methanol oxidation mutants of M. extorquens AM1 were shown to be able to grow on methanol in the presence of PQQ. These putative PQQ biosynthesis mutants have been complemented by using previously isolated clones containing M. extorquens AM1 DNA, which were known to contain genes necessary for oxidation of methanol to formaldehyde (mox genes). Subcloning and transposon mutagenesis experiments have assigned these mutants to five complementation groups in two gene clusters. Representatives of each complementation group were shown to lack detectable PQQ in the growth medium and in cell extracts and to contain methanol dehydrogenase polypeptides that were inactive. Therefore, these mutants all appear to be defective in PQQ biosynthesis. PQQ biosynthesis mutants of Methylobacterium organophilum DSM 760 and M. organophilum XX were complemented by using M. extorquens AM1 subclones, and PQQ biosynthesis mutants of M. extorquens AM1 and M. organophilum XX were complemented by using M. organophilum DSM 760 subclones. This analysis suggested that a total of six PQQ biosynthesis complementation groups were present in M. extorquens AM1 and M. organophilum DSM 760. A 2-kb M. extorquens AM1 DNA fragment that complemented the MoxO class of PQQ biosynthesis mutants was sequenced and found to contain two complete open reading frames and the N-terminal sequence of a third. These genes designated pqqDGC, had predicted gene products with substantial similarity to the gene products of corresponding pqq genes in Acinetobacter calcoaceticus and Klebsiella pneumoniae. pqqD encodes a 29-amino-acid peptide which contains a tyrosine residue and glutamate residue that are conserved in the equivalent peptides of K. pneumoniae, PqqA (23 amino acids), and A. calcoaceticus, PqqIV (24 amino acids), and are thought to be the precursors for PQQ biosynthesis. The organizations of a cluster of five PQQ biosynthetic genes appear to be similiar in four different bacteria (M. extorquens AM1, M. organophilum DSM 760, K. pneumoniae, and A. calcoaceticus). Our results show that a total of seven pqq genes are present in M. extorquens AM1, and these have been designated pqqDGCBA and pqqEF.

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© 1994 American Society for Microbiology. Received 15 September 1993. Accepted 9 January 1994. This work was supported by a grant from the NIH to M.E.L. (GM36296) and a grant from C.N.R.S.-I.P. (UA 1129) to F.B. We thank F. Gasser for helpful discussions and R. S. Hanson for providing the M. organophilum XX mutants.

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August 20, 2023
August 20, 2023