Wednesday, July 15, 2015

362 - Mutants of Azotobacter chroococcum Defective in Hydrogenase Activity

This study isolated some hydrogenase-negative mutants of Azotobacter chroococcum by chemical mutagenesis and looked at how they behaved.

What They Saw
Almost all of the 16 mutants had almost no hydrogenase activity, as expected. Some had a little, <2% of wild-type. Some more had a little hydrogen-producing activity in the right conditions, usually less than 7% of the wild-type, but one had 40% of wild-type. That one also seemed to have a relatively active soluble hydrogenase (possibly the uptake hydrogenase in soluble form). All of them seemed able to take up nickel.

The one weirdest mutant, MCD-124, showed max activity at a different pH (5.5 instead of 8) and was weird in other ways.

Also, the authors were surprised by the frequency with which they could get hydrogenase mutants. They wondered whether the relevant genes were just more susceptible, or if the growth medium was more favorable to mutants somehow, or if there were just that many necessary genes. But judging from the genome sequence, this isn't quite a sufficient explanation.

Overall, it's hard to know exactly what's going on in this study.

Yates, M. G. & Robson, R. L. Mutants of Azotobacter chroococcum Defective in Hydrogenase Activity. J Gen Microbiol 131, 1459–1466 (1985).

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