The phototrophic bacterium Rhodobacter capsulatus E1F1 assimilates nitrate under anaerobic phototrophic growth conditions. A 17 kb DNA region encoding the nitrate assimilation (nas) system of this bacterium has been cloned and sequenced. This region includes the genes coding for a putative ABC (ATP-binding cassette)-type nitrate transporter (nasFED) and the structural genes for the enzymes nitrate reductase (nasA), nitrite reductase (nasB) and hydroxylamine reductase (hcp). Three genes code for putative regulatory proteins: a nitrite-sensitive repressor (nsrR), a transcription antiterminator (nasT) and a nitrate sensor (nasS). Other genes probably involved in nitrate assimilation are also present in this region. The sequence analysis of these genes and the biochemical properties of the purified nitrate, nitrite and hydroxylamine reductases are reviewed.

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