Denitrification is generally considered to occur under micro-oxic or anoxic conditions. With this in mind, the physiological function and regulation of several steps in the denitrification of model α-proteobacteria are compared in the present review. Expression of the periplasmic nitrate reductase is quite variable, with this enzyme being maximally expressed under oxic conditions in some bacteria, but under micro-oxic conditions in others. Expression of nitrite and NO reductases in most denitrifiers is more tightly controlled, with expression only occurring under micro-oxic conditions. A possible exception to this may be Roseobacter denitrificans, but the physiological role of these enzymes under oxic conditions is uncertain.

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