Calcium carbonate precipitation, a widespread phenomenon among bacteria, has been investigated due to its wide range of scientific and technological implications. Nevertheless, little is known of the molecular mechanisms by which bacteria foster calcium carbonate mineralization. In our laboratory, we are studying calcite formation by Bacillus subtilis, in order to identify genes involved in the biomineralization process. A previous screening of UV mutants and of more than one thousand mutants obtained from the European B. subtilis Functional Analysis project allowed us to isolate strains altered in the precipitation phenotype. Starting from these results, we focused our attention on a cluster of five genes (lcfA, ysiA, ysiB, etfB, and etfA) called the lcfA operon. By insertional mutagenesis, mutant strains carrying each of the five genes were produced. All of them, with the exception of the strain carrying the mutated lcfA operon, were unable to form calcite crystals. By placing transcription under IPTG (isopropyl-β-D-thiogalactopyranoside) control, the last gene, etfA, was identified as essential for the precipitation process. To verify cotranscription in the lcfA operon, reverse transcription-PCR experiments were performed and overlapping retrocotranscripts were found comprising three adjacent genes. The genes have putative functions linked to fatty acid metabolism. A link between calcium precipitation and fatty acid metabolism is suggested.

Bacillus subtilis gene cluster involved in calcium carbonate biomineralization

TAMBURINI, ELENA;
2007-01-01

Abstract

Calcium carbonate precipitation, a widespread phenomenon among bacteria, has been investigated due to its wide range of scientific and technological implications. Nevertheless, little is known of the molecular mechanisms by which bacteria foster calcium carbonate mineralization. In our laboratory, we are studying calcite formation by Bacillus subtilis, in order to identify genes involved in the biomineralization process. A previous screening of UV mutants and of more than one thousand mutants obtained from the European B. subtilis Functional Analysis project allowed us to isolate strains altered in the precipitation phenotype. Starting from these results, we focused our attention on a cluster of five genes (lcfA, ysiA, ysiB, etfB, and etfA) called the lcfA operon. By insertional mutagenesis, mutant strains carrying each of the five genes were produced. All of them, with the exception of the strain carrying the mutated lcfA operon, were unable to form calcite crystals. By placing transcription under IPTG (isopropyl-β-D-thiogalactopyranoside) control, the last gene, etfA, was identified as essential for the precipitation process. To verify cotranscription in the lcfA operon, reverse transcription-PCR experiments were performed and overlapping retrocotranscripts were found comprising three adjacent genes. The genes have putative functions linked to fatty acid metabolism. A link between calcium precipitation and fatty acid metabolism is suggested.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/95633
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