The bchU Gene of Chlorobium tepidum Encodes the C-20 Methyltransferase in Bacteriochlorophyll c Biosynthesis

Julia A. Maresca, Aline Gomez Maqueo Chew, Marta Ros Ponsatí, Niels Ulrik Frigaard, John G. Ormerod, Donald Ashley Bryant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Bacteriochlorophylls (BChls) c and d, two of the major light-harvesting pigments in photosynthetic green sulfur bacteria, differ only by the presence of a methyl group at the C-20 methine bridge position in BChl c. A gene potentially encoding the C-20 methyltransferase, bchU, was identified by comparative analysis of the Chlorobium tepidum and Chloroflexus aurantiacus genome sequences. Homologs of this gene were amplified and sequenced from Chlorobium phaeobacteroides strain 1549, Chlorobium vibrioforme strain 8327d, and C. vibrioforme strain 8327c, which produce BChls e, d, and c, respectively. A single nucleotide insertion in the bchU gene of C. vibrioforme strain 8327d was found to cause a premature, in-frame stop codon and thus the formation of a truncated, nonfunctional gene product. The spontaneous mutant of this strain that produces BChl c (strain 8327c) has a second frameshift mutation that restores the correct reading frame in bchU. The bchU gene was inactivated in C. tepidum, a BChl c-producing species, and the resulting mutant produced only BChl d. Growth rate measurements showed that BChl c- and d-producing strains of the same organism (C. tepidum or C. vibrioforme) have similar growth rates at high and intermediate light intensities but that strains producing BChl c grow faster than those with BChl d at low light intensities. Thus, the bchU gene encodes the C-20 methyltransferase for BChl c biosynthesis in Chlorobium species, and methylation at the C-20 position to produce BChl c rather than BChl d confers a significant competitive advantage to green sulfur bacteria living at limiting red and near-infrared light intensities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2558-2566
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Volume186
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2004

Fingerprint

Chlorobium
Methyltransferases
Chlorobi
Genes
Light
Dilatation and Curettage
Reading Frames
Frameshift Mutation
Terminator Codon
Growth
Methylation
bacteriochlorophyll c
Nucleotides
Genome

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

Cite this

Maresca, Julia A. ; Gomez Maqueo Chew, Aline ; Ponsatí, Marta Ros ; Frigaard, Niels Ulrik ; Ormerod, John G. ; Bryant, Donald Ashley. / The bchU Gene of Chlorobium tepidum Encodes the C-20 Methyltransferase in Bacteriochlorophyll c Biosynthesis. In: Journal of bacteriology. 2004 ; Vol. 186, No. 9. pp. 2558-2566.
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title = "The bchU Gene of Chlorobium tepidum Encodes the C-20 Methyltransferase in Bacteriochlorophyll c Biosynthesis",
abstract = "Bacteriochlorophylls (BChls) c and d, two of the major light-harvesting pigments in photosynthetic green sulfur bacteria, differ only by the presence of a methyl group at the C-20 methine bridge position in BChl c. A gene potentially encoding the C-20 methyltransferase, bchU, was identified by comparative analysis of the Chlorobium tepidum and Chloroflexus aurantiacus genome sequences. Homologs of this gene were amplified and sequenced from Chlorobium phaeobacteroides strain 1549, Chlorobium vibrioforme strain 8327d, and C. vibrioforme strain 8327c, which produce BChls e, d, and c, respectively. A single nucleotide insertion in the bchU gene of C. vibrioforme strain 8327d was found to cause a premature, in-frame stop codon and thus the formation of a truncated, nonfunctional gene product. The spontaneous mutant of this strain that produces BChl c (strain 8327c) has a second frameshift mutation that restores the correct reading frame in bchU. The bchU gene was inactivated in C. tepidum, a BChl c-producing species, and the resulting mutant produced only BChl d. Growth rate measurements showed that BChl c- and d-producing strains of the same organism (C. tepidum or C. vibrioforme) have similar growth rates at high and intermediate light intensities but that strains producing BChl c grow faster than those with BChl d at low light intensities. Thus, the bchU gene encodes the C-20 methyltransferase for BChl c biosynthesis in Chlorobium species, and methylation at the C-20 position to produce BChl c rather than BChl d confers a significant competitive advantage to green sulfur bacteria living at limiting red and near-infrared light intensities.",
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The bchU Gene of Chlorobium tepidum Encodes the C-20 Methyltransferase in Bacteriochlorophyll c Biosynthesis. / Maresca, Julia A.; Gomez Maqueo Chew, Aline; Ponsatí, Marta Ros; Frigaard, Niels Ulrik; Ormerod, John G.; Bryant, Donald Ashley.

In: Journal of bacteriology, Vol. 186, No. 9, 01.05.2004, p. 2558-2566.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - The bchU Gene of Chlorobium tepidum Encodes the C-20 Methyltransferase in Bacteriochlorophyll c Biosynthesis

AU - Maresca, Julia A.

AU - Gomez Maqueo Chew, Aline

AU - Ponsatí, Marta Ros

AU - Frigaard, Niels Ulrik

AU - Ormerod, John G.

AU - Bryant, Donald Ashley

PY - 2004/5/1

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N2 - Bacteriochlorophylls (BChls) c and d, two of the major light-harvesting pigments in photosynthetic green sulfur bacteria, differ only by the presence of a methyl group at the C-20 methine bridge position in BChl c. A gene potentially encoding the C-20 methyltransferase, bchU, was identified by comparative analysis of the Chlorobium tepidum and Chloroflexus aurantiacus genome sequences. Homologs of this gene were amplified and sequenced from Chlorobium phaeobacteroides strain 1549, Chlorobium vibrioforme strain 8327d, and C. vibrioforme strain 8327c, which produce BChls e, d, and c, respectively. A single nucleotide insertion in the bchU gene of C. vibrioforme strain 8327d was found to cause a premature, in-frame stop codon and thus the formation of a truncated, nonfunctional gene product. The spontaneous mutant of this strain that produces BChl c (strain 8327c) has a second frameshift mutation that restores the correct reading frame in bchU. The bchU gene was inactivated in C. tepidum, a BChl c-producing species, and the resulting mutant produced only BChl d. Growth rate measurements showed that BChl c- and d-producing strains of the same organism (C. tepidum or C. vibrioforme) have similar growth rates at high and intermediate light intensities but that strains producing BChl c grow faster than those with BChl d at low light intensities. Thus, the bchU gene encodes the C-20 methyltransferase for BChl c biosynthesis in Chlorobium species, and methylation at the C-20 position to produce BChl c rather than BChl d confers a significant competitive advantage to green sulfur bacteria living at limiting red and near-infrared light intensities.

AB - Bacteriochlorophylls (BChls) c and d, two of the major light-harvesting pigments in photosynthetic green sulfur bacteria, differ only by the presence of a methyl group at the C-20 methine bridge position in BChl c. A gene potentially encoding the C-20 methyltransferase, bchU, was identified by comparative analysis of the Chlorobium tepidum and Chloroflexus aurantiacus genome sequences. Homologs of this gene were amplified and sequenced from Chlorobium phaeobacteroides strain 1549, Chlorobium vibrioforme strain 8327d, and C. vibrioforme strain 8327c, which produce BChls e, d, and c, respectively. A single nucleotide insertion in the bchU gene of C. vibrioforme strain 8327d was found to cause a premature, in-frame stop codon and thus the formation of a truncated, nonfunctional gene product. The spontaneous mutant of this strain that produces BChl c (strain 8327c) has a second frameshift mutation that restores the correct reading frame in bchU. The bchU gene was inactivated in C. tepidum, a BChl c-producing species, and the resulting mutant produced only BChl d. Growth rate measurements showed that BChl c- and d-producing strains of the same organism (C. tepidum or C. vibrioforme) have similar growth rates at high and intermediate light intensities but that strains producing BChl c grow faster than those with BChl d at low light intensities. Thus, the bchU gene encodes the C-20 methyltransferase for BChl c biosynthesis in Chlorobium species, and methylation at the C-20 position to produce BChl c rather than BChl d confers a significant competitive advantage to green sulfur bacteria living at limiting red and near-infrared light intensities.

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