Relationship between nitrate and nitrite stress responses of Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough and Desulfovibrio alaskensis G20
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Many heavy metal-contaminated sites where nuclear weapons have been produced contain high concentrations of nitrate. Nitrate inhibits dissimilatory sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB), bacteria known to precipitate heavy metals. An understanding of nitrate stress responses in SRB is necessary to predict responses in environmental settings. Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough and Desulfovibrio alaskensis G20, model SRB, offer the opportunity to identify the physiological and genetic changes that confer nitrate resistance. It is currently thought that nitrite production mediates nitrate inhibition of SRB (He et al., 2010). However, microarray studies have revealed few gene expression changes in common between nitrate- and nitrite-inhibited D. vulgaris cells (He et al., 2010). Since it has been shown that nitrite interacts with the dissimilatory sulfite reductase (Wolfe et al., 1994), it has been assumed that sulfite reduction is the sole target of nitrite inhibition (Haveman et al., 2004). Our results point to inhibition and resistance mechanisms for both nitrate and nitrite that are independent of sulfite reduction.