Redox regulation of the genes for cobinamide biosynthesis in Salmonella typhimurium

D. I. Andersson, J. R. Roth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Transcription of the cobinamide biosynthetic genes (the CobI operon) was induced under three different physiological conditions: anaerobiosis (anaerobic respiration or fermentation), aerobic respiration at low oxygen levels, and aerobic respiration with a partial block of the electron transport chain. After a shift to inducing conditions, there was a time lag of approximately 50 min before the onset of CobI induction. Under conditions of anaerobic respiration, the level of CobI transcription was dependent on the nature of both the electron donor (carbon and energy source) and the acceptor. Cells grown with electron acceptors with a lower midpoint potential showed higher CobI expression levels. The highest level of CobI transcription observed was obtained with glycerol as the carbon source and fumarate as the electron acceptor. The high induction seen with glycerol was reduced by mutational blocks in the glycerol catabolic pathway, suggesting that glycerol does not serve as a gratuitous inducer but must be metabolized to stimulate CobI transcription. In the presence of oxygen, CobI operon expression was induced 6- to 20-fold by the following: inhibition of cytochrome o oxidase with cyanide, mutational blockage of ubiquinone biosynthetis, and starvation of mutant cells for heme. We suggest that the CobI operon is induced in response to a reducing environment within the cell and not by the absence of oxygen per se.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6734-6739
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Immunology


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