Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 186, Issue 5, pp 357–366 | Cite as

Importance of the DsrMKJOP complex for sulfur oxidation in Allochromatium vinosum and phylogenetic analysis of related complexes in other prokaryotes

  • Johannes Sander
  • Sabine Engels-Schwarzlose
  • Christiane Dahl
Original Paper


In the phototrophic sulfur bacterium Allochromatium vinosum, sulfur of oxidation state zero stored in intracellular sulfur globules is an obligate intermediate during the oxidation of sulfide and thiosulfate. The proteins encoded in the dissimilatory sulfite reductase (dsr) locus are essential for the oxidation of the stored sulfur. DsrMKJOP form a membrane-spanning complex proposed to accept electrons from or to deliver electrons to cytoplasmic sulfur-oxidizing proteins. In frame deletion mutagenesis showed that each individual of the complex-encoding genes is an absolute requirement for the oxidation of the stored sulfur in Alc. vinosum. Complementation of the ΔdsrJ mutant using the conjugative broad host range plasmid pBBR1-MCS2 and the dsr promoter was successful. The importance of the DsrMKJOP complex is underlined by the fact that the respective genes occur in all currently sequenced genomes of sulfur-forming bacteria such as Thiobacillus denitrificans and Chlorobaculum tepidum. Furthermore, closely related genes are present in the genomes of sulfate- and sulfite-reducing prokaryotes. A phylogenetic analysis showed that most dsr genes from sulfide oxidizers are clearly separated of those from sulfate reducers. Surprisingly, the dsrMKJOP genes of the Chlorobiaceae all cluster together with those of the sulfate/sulfite-reducing prokaryotes, indicating a lateral gene transfer at the base of the Chlorobiaceae.


Allochromatium vinosum Sulfur oxidation Heterodisulfide reductase DsrMKJOP complex Horizontal gene transfer 



This work was supported by grant Da 351/3–3 from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. The excellent technical assistance by Birgitt Hüttig is gratefully acknowledged. We are indebted to Hans G. Trüper for the continuing support and the stimulating discussions.

Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johannes Sander
    • 1
  • Sabine Engels-Schwarzlose
    • 1
  • Christiane Dahl
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Mikrobiologie und BiotechnologieRheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität BonnBonnGermany

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