Microbial Chlorate Respiration

Perchlorate reducing bacteria are able to grow via the reduction of both perchlorate and chlorate while chlorate-reducers can only respire the latter. As part of our effort to understand the genetic and biochemical relationship between these analogous respiratory processes, we have sequenced and compared the genomes of isolates capable of both metabolisms. Many of the chlorate-reducers sequenced have genes for chlorate reduction in mobile composite transposons that were independently built from type II DMSO reductases and chlorite dismutase (cld). In at least one case, cld has been co-opted from a perchlorate reduction genomic island. Using RNAseq, proteomics, genetics, and directed evolution, our work aims to understand this metabolism in a single isolate as well as synthetically design chloroxyanion respiration in closely related species.

Clark, I. C., Melnyk, R. A., Engelbrektson, A. & Coates, J. D. Structure and Evolution of Chlorate Reduction Composite Transposons. mBio 4, e00379–13–e00379–13 (2013).