Genetics of Perchlorate Reduction

Perchlorate Reduction graphic

perchlorate graphic

Understanding how Perchlorate Impacts Complex Microbial Communities

The phylogenetically disparate perchlorate-reducing bacteria all share a genomic island that contains the genes responsible for perchlorate reduction. 

To further understand the function of these genes, we developed a set of genetic tools for the model perchlorate reducer Azospira suillum PS. Using transposon mutagenesis and clean deletions, we have identified many genes important for perchlorate reduction. 

Previously uncharacterized genes in the genomic island are now known to comprise mechanisms for regulation and oxidative stress tolerance, both of which are currently under further investigation in the lab.  These mechanisms are important for understanding how perchlorate impacts complex microbial communities, as our comparative genomics studies have shown that these oxidative stress mechanisms are also conserved in a broad spectrum of bacteria incapable of perchlorate reduction.