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Paracoccus pantotrophus can express a periplasmic nitrate reductase (Nap) during aerobic growth. A proposed role for this enzyme is the dissipation of excess redox energy during oxidative metabolism of reduced carbon substrates. To investigate the regulation of nap expression, a transcriptional fusion between the nap promoter region of P. pantotrophus and the lacZ gene was constructed. When this fusion was used, analyses showed that transcription from the nap promoter increases as the average reduction state of the carbon atoms increases. Thus, beta-galactosidase activities increase as the carbon source changes in the order succinate-acetate-butyrate. This result was obtained regardless of which of the three carbon sources was used for culture of the inoculum. If two carbon sources were presented together, the beta-galactosidase activity was always the same as it was when the least-reduced carbon source was added alone. This suggests that the regulation is dependent upon metabolism of the more-reduced carbon sources rather than just their presence in the medium. Analysis of culture medium by (1)H nuclear magnetic resonance showed that for aerobic growth P. pantotrophus strictly selected its carbon source in the order succinate-acetate-butyrate. This was reflected by diauxic growth kinetics on medium containing mixed carbon substrates. The regulatory mechanism underpinning such a selection is unknown but is likely to be related to the mechanism which controls the transcription of the nap operon.

Original publication




Journal article


J Bacteriol

Publication Date





4767 - 4774


Acetates, Adenosine Triphosphate, Aerobiosis, Base Sequence, Butyrates, Carbon, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Molecular Sequence Data, Nitrate Reductase, Nitrate Reductases, Nitrates, Operon, Oxidation-Reduction, Oxygen, Paracoccus, Succinic Acid