Genetics of Dinitrogen Fixation

  • W. J. Brill
Conference paper
Part of the Proceedings in Life Sciences book series (LIFE SCIENCES)


The only organism that has been used for the detailed analysis of the genes involved with dinitrogen fixation (nif genes) is Klebsiella pneumoniae. This organism is closely related to the well-studied Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium. Unlike these latter species, certain K. pneumoniae strains are able to grow in media free of fixed nitrogen Compounds (Mahl et al., 1965). Such strains fix dinitrogen from the air. Dinitrogen fixation by K. pneumoniae only occurs anaerobically because oxygen is a potent inactivator of nitrogenase. Genetic techniques that have been developed for E. coli, such as generalized transduction by phage P1 or gene inactivation by random insertion of phage Mu have been used to develop the genetics of dinitrogen fixation in K. pneumonia (Streicher et al., 1971; Bachhuber et al., 1976; Rao, 1976; Elmerich et al., 1978). This chapter will focus on recent work that has been published from this laboratory. Earlier work and work from other laboratories have been reviewed (Brill, 1975; Elmerich 1979; Beringer, 1980).


Glutamine Synthetase Complementation Group Polar Mutation Dinitrogen Fixation nifA Protein 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. J. Brill
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Bacteriology and Center for Studies of Nitrogen FixationUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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