The napEDABC genes of Bradyrhizobium japonicum encode the periplasmic nitrate reductase, an Mo-containing enzyme which catalyses the reduction of nitrate to nitrite when oxygen concentrations are limiting. In this bacterium, another set of genes, modABC, code for a high affinity ABC-type Mo transport system. A B. japonicum modA mutant has been obtained that is not capable of growing anaerobically with nitrate and lacks nitrate reductase activity. Under nitrate respiring conditions, when Mo concentrations are limiting, the B. japonicum modA mutant lacked both the 90 kDa protein corresponding to the NapA component of the periplasmic nitrate reductase, and the membrane-bound 25 kDa c-type cytochrome NapC. Regulatory studies using a napElacZ fusion indicated that napE expression was highly reduced in the modA mutant background when the cells were incubated anaerobically with nitrate under Mo-deficient conditions.

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