The Iron-Sulfur Flavoprotein DsrL as NAD(P)H:Acceptor Oxidoreductase in Oxidative and Reductive Dissimilatory Sulfur Metabolism

Maria Löffler, Kai B. Wallerang, Sofia S. Venceslau, Inês A.C. Pereira, Christiane Dahl

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9 Citations (Scopus)


DsrAB-type dissimilatory sulfite reductase is a key enzyme of microbial sulfur-dependent energy metabolism. Sulfur oxidizers also contain DsrL, which is essential for sulfur oxidation in Allochromatium vinosum. This NAD(P)H oxidoreductase acts as physiological partner of oxidative-type rDsrAB. Recent analyses uncovered that DsrL is not confined to sulfur oxidizers but also occurs in (probable) sulfate/sulfur-reducing bacteria. Here, phylogenetic analysis revealed a separation into two major branches, DsrL-1, with two subgroups, and DsrL-2. When present in organisms with reductive-type DsrAB, DsrL is of type 2. In the majority of cases oxidative-type rDsrAB occurs with DsrL-1 but combination with DsrL-2-type enzymes is also observed. Three model DsrL proteins, DsrL-1A and DsrL-1B from the sulfur oxidizers A. vinosum and Chlorobaculum tepidum, respectively, as well as DsrL-2 from thiosulfate- and sulfur-reducing Desulfurella amilsii were kinetically characterized. DaDsrL-2 is active with NADP(H) but not with NAD(H) which we relate to a conserved YRR-motif in the substrate-binding domains of all DsrL-2 enzymes. In contrast, AvDsrL-1A has a strong preference for NAD(H) and the CtDsrL-1B enzyme is completely inactive with NADP(H). Thus, NAD+ as well as NADP+ are suitable in vivo electron acceptors for rDsrABL-1-catalyzed sulfur oxidation, while NADPH is required as electron donor for sulfite reduction. This observation can be related to the lower redox potential of the NADPH/NADP+ than the NADH/NAD+ couple under physiological conditions. Organisms with a rdsrAB and dsrL-1 gene combination can be confidently identified as sulfur oxidizers while predictions for organisms with other combinations require much more caution and additional information sources.

Original languageEnglish
Article number578209
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2020


  • dissimilatory sulfate reduction
  • dissimilatory sulfur oxidation
  • DsrAB
  • DsrL
  • NAD(P)H
  • sulfite reductase
  • sulfur metabolism


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