Soluble proteome investigation of cobalt effect on the carotenoidless mutant of Rhodobacter sphaeroides

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To investigate the surviving capability of Rhodobacter sphaeroides under phototrophic conditions in the presence of high cobalt concentration and its influence on the photosynthetic apparatus biosynthesis.

Methods and Results

Cells from R. sphaeroides strain R26·1 were grown anaerobically in a medium containing 5·0 mmol l−1 cobalt ions and in a control medium. Metal toxicity was investigated comparing the soluble proteome of Co2+-exposed cells and cells grown in control medium by two-dimensional gel electrophoretic analysis. Significant changes in the expression level were detected for 43 proteins, the majority (35) being up-regulated. The enzyme porphobilinogen deaminase (PBGD) was found down-regulated and its activity was investigated.


The up-regulated enzymes mainly belong to the general category of proteins and DNA degradation enzymes, suggesting that part of the catabolic reaction products can rescue bacterial growth in photosynthetically impaired cells. Furthermore, the down-regulation of PBGD strongly indicates that this key enzyme of the tetrapyrrole and bacteriochlorophyll synthesis is directly involved in the metabolic response.

Significance and Impact of the Study

Data and experiments show that the cobalt detrimental effect on the photosynthetic growth of R. sphaeroides is associated with an impaired expression and functioning of PBGD.

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