Selenium is involved in regulation of periplasmic hydrogenase gene expression in Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough

Filipa M A Valente, Cláudia C. Almeida, Isabel Pacheco, João Carita, Lígia M. Saraiva, Inês A C Pereira

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Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough is a good model organism to study hydrogen metabolism in sulfate-reducing bacteria. Hydrogen is a key compound for these organisms, since it is one of their major energy sources in natural habitats and also an intermediate in the energy metabolism. The D. vulgaris Hildenborough genome codes for six different hydrogenases, but only three of them, the periplasmic-facing [FeFe], [FeNi]1, and [FeNiSe] hydrogenases, are usually detected. In this work, we studied the synthesis of each of these enzymes in response to different electron donors and acceptors for growth as well as in response to the availability of Ni and Se. The formation of the three hydrogenases was not very strongly affected by the electron donors or acceptors used, but the highest levels were observed after growth with hydrogen as electron donor and lowest with thiosulfate as electron acceptor. The major effect observed was with inclusion of Se in the growth medium, which led to a strong repression of the [FeFe] and [NiFe]1 hydrogenases and a strong increase in the [NiFeSe] hydrogenase that is not detected in the absence of Se. Ni also led to increased formation of the [NiFe]1 hydrogenase, except for growth with H2, where its synthesis is very high even without Ni added to the medium. Growth with H2 results in a strong increase in the soluble forms of the [NiFe]1 and [NiFeSe] hydrogenases. This study is an important contribution to understanding why D. vulgaris Hildenborough has three periplasmic hydrogenases. It supports their similar physiological role in H2 oxidation and reveals that element availability has a strong influence in their relative expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3228-3235
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2006


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