Article ID: ME16001
Pseudogulbenkiania is a relatively recently characterized genus within the order Neisseriales, class Betaproteobacteria. This genus contains several strains that are capable of anaerobic, nitrate-dependent Fe(II) oxidation (NDFO), a geochemically important reaction for nitrogen and iron cycles. In the present study, we examined denitrification functional gene diversities within this genus, and clarified whether other Pseudogulbenkiania sp. strains perform denitrification and NDFO. Seventy strains were analyzed, including two type strains, a well-characterized NDFO strain, and 67 denitrifying strains isolated from various rice paddy fields and rice-soybean rotation fields in Japan. We also attempted to identify the genes responsible for NDFO by mutagenesis. Our comprehensive analysis showed that all Pseudogulbenkiania strains tested performed denitrification and NDFO; however, we were unable to obtain NDFO-deficient denitrifying mutants in our mutagenesis experiment. This result suggests that Fe(II) oxidation in these strains is not enzymatic, but is caused by reactive N-species that are formed during nitrate reduction. Based on the results of the comparative genome analysis among Pseudogulbenkiania sp. strains, we identified low sequence similarity within the nos gene as well as different gene arrangements within the nos gene cluster, suggesting that nos genes were horizontally transferred. Since Pseudogulbenkiania sp. strains have been isolated from various locations around the world, their denitrification and NDFO abilities may contribute significantly to nitrogen and iron biogeochemical cycles.