Soil-dwelling microbes solubilize mineral phosphates by secreting gluconic acid, which is produced from glucose by a periplasmic glucose dehydrogenase (GDH) that requires pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) as a redox coenzyme. While GDH-dependent phosphate solubilization has been observed in numerous bacteria, little is known concerning the mechanism by which this process is regulated. Here we use the model rhizosphere-dwelling bacterium Pseudomonas putida KT2440 to explore GDH activity and PQQ synthesis, as well as gene expression of the GDH-encoding gene (gcd) and PQQ biosynthesis genes (pqq operon) while under different growth conditions. We also use reverse transcription-PCR to identify transcripts from the pqq operon to more accurately map the operon structure. GDH specific activity and PQQ levels vary according to growth condition, with the highest levels of both occurring when glucose is used as the sole carbon source and under conditions of low soluble phosphate. Under these conditions, however, PQQ levels limit in vitro phosphate solubilization. GDH specific activity data correlate well with gcd gene expression data, and the levels of expression of the pqqF and pqqB genes mirror the levels of PQQ synthesized, suggesting that one or both of these genes may serve to modulate PQQ levels according to the growth conditions. The pqq gene cluster (pqqFABCDEG) encodes at least two independent transcripts, and expression of the pqqF gene appears to be under the control of an independent promoter and terminator.

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Published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, v. 82, no. 16, p. 4955-4964.

Copyright © 2016, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

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This work was supported in part by grant 2011-67020-30195 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. R.A. was supported in part by a grant from the Chinese Scholarship Council.

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Supplemental material for this article may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AEM.00813-16.

zam999117326so1.pdf (174 kB)
Supplementary Materials: Fig. S1-S3.