The acnD genes of Shewenella oneidensis and Vibrio cholerae encode a new Fe/S-dependent 2-methylcitrate dehydratase enzyme that requires prpF function in vivo

J Bacteriol. 2004 Jan;186(2):454-62. doi: 10.1128/JB.186.2.454-462.2004.


The propionate utilization operons of several bacteria differ from each other in the occurrence of two genes, acnD and prpF, in place of or in addition to the prpD gene encoding an Fe/S-independent 2-methylcitrate dehydratase enzyme. We cloned the acnD and prpF genes from two organisms, Shewanella oneidensis and Vibrio cholerae, and found that, together, the AcnD and PrpF proteins restored the ability of a prpD mutant strain of Salmonella enterica to grow on propionate as a source of carbon and energy. However, neither acnD nor prpF alone was able to substitute for prpD. The AcnD and PrpF proteins were isolated and biochemically analyzed. The AcnD protein required reconstitution of an Fe/S cluster for activity. All detectable AcnD activity was lost after incubation with iron-chelating agents, and no AcnD activity was observed after attempted reconstitution without iron. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and in vitro activity assay data showed that AcnD dehydrated 2-methylcitrate and citrate to 2-methyl-cis-aconitate and cis-aconitate, respectively; AcnD also hydrated cis-aconitate. However, 2-methylisocitrate and isocitrate were not substrates for AcnD, indicating that AcnD only catalyzes the first half of the aconitase-like dehydration reactions. No aconitase-like activity was found for PrpF. It is hypothesized that, in vivo, PrpF is an accessory protein required to prevent oxidative damage of the Fe/S center of active AcnD enzyme or that it may be involved in synthesis or repair of the Fe/S cluster present in AcnD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aconitate Hydratase / metabolism
  • Citrates / metabolism*
  • Genes, Bacterial / physiology*
  • Hydro-Lyases / genetics*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Operon
  • Oxo-Acid-Lyases / physiology
  • Propionates / metabolism*
  • Salmonella enterica / growth & development
  • Shewanella / genetics*
  • Vibrio cholerae / genetics*


  • Citrates
  • Propionates
  • 2-methylcitric acid
  • 2-methylcitrate synthase
  • Oxo-Acid-Lyases
  • Hydro-Lyases
  • Aconitate Hydratase