Mutations in cytochrome assembly and periplasmic redox pathways in Bordetella pertussis

Robert E. Feissner, Caroline S. Beckett, Jennifer A. Loughman, Robert G. Kranz

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26 Scopus citations


Transposon mutagenesis of Bordetella pertussis was used to discover mutations in the cytochrome c biogenesis pathway called system II. Using a tetramethyl-p-phenylenediamine cytochrome c oxidase screen, 27 oxidase-negative mutants were isolated and characterized. Nine mutants were still able to synthesize c-type cytochromes and possessed insertions in the genes for cytochrome c oxidase subunits (ctaC, -D, and -E), heme a biosynthesis (ctaB), assembly of cytochrome c oxidase (sco2), or ferrochelatase (hemZ). Eighteen mutants were unable to synthesize all c-type cytochromes. Seven of these had transposons in dipZ (dsbD), encoding the transmembrane thioreduction protein, and all seven mutants were corrected for cytochrome c assembly by exogenous dithiothreitol, which was consistent with the cytochrome c cysteinyl residues of the CXXCH motif requiring periplasmic reduction. The remaining 11 insertions were located in the ccsBA operon, suggesting that with the appropriate thiol-reducing environment, the CcsB and CcsA proteins comprise the entire system II biosynthetic pathway. Antiserum to CcsB was used to show that CcsB is absent in ccsA mutants, providing evidence for a stable CcsA-CcsB complex. No mutations were found in the genes necessary for disulfide bond formation (dsbA or dsbB). To examine whether the periplasmic disulfide bond pathway is required for cytochrome c biogenesis in B. pertussis, a targeted knockout was made in dsbB. The DsbB- mutant makes holocytochromes c like the wild type does and secretes and assembles the active periplasmic alkaline phosphatase. A dipZ mutant is not corrected by a dsbB mutation. Alternative mechanisms to oxidize disulfides in B. pertussis are analyzed and discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3941-3949
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 2005


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