An uncertain role for Cu(II) in stimulating Mn(II) oxidation byLeptothrix discophoraSS-1

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In an effort to improve understanding of the role of Cu(II) in bacterial Mn(II) oxidation, a model Mn(II)-oxidizing bacterium, Leptothrix discophora SS-1, was grown in presence of toxic and non-toxic concentrations of Cu(II), Cd(II) and Mn(II). Mn(II)-oxidizing activity increased by 40% when cells were grown in the presence of 0.05 μM of Cu(II) and increased twofold at 0.18 μM Cu(II). Toxic levels of Cd(II) did not stimulate Mn(II) oxidizing activity, indicating that Mn(II) oxidation is not a response to metal toxicity. Stimulation by Cu(II) confirms the specific role of Cu(II) in Mn(II) oxidation. Comparison of transcript levels of the multicopper oxidase mofA gene in the presence and absence of added Cu(II) do not indicate a statistically significant change in mofA transcript levels in cultures supplemented with Cu(II). Thus, the exact role of Cu(II) in Mn(II) oxidation and its affect on mofA gene expression remain uncertain.

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