Identification, characterization, and classification of genes encoding perchlorate reductase

J Bacteriol. 2005 Aug;187(15):5090-6. doi: 10.1128/JB.187.15.5090-5096.2005.


The reduction of perchlorate to chlorite, the first enzymatic step in the bacterial reduction of perchlorate, is catalyzed by perchlorate reductase. The genes encoding perchlorate reductase (pcrABCD) in two Dechloromonas species were characterized. Sequence analysis of the pcrAB gene products revealed similarity to alpha- and beta-subunits of microbial nitrate reductase, selenate reductase, dimethyl sulfide dehydrogenase, ethylbenzene dehydrogenase, and chlorate reductase, all of which are type II members of the microbial dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) reductase family. The pcrC gene product was similar to a c-type cytochrome, while the pcrD gene product exhibited similarity to molybdenum chaperone proteins of the DMSO reductase family members mentioned above. Expression analysis of the pcrA gene from Dechloromonas agitata indicated that transcription occurred only under anaerobic (per)chlorate-reducing conditions. The presence of oxygen completely inhibited pcrA expression regardless of the presence of perchlorate, chlorate, or nitrate. Deletion of the pcrA gene in Dechloromonas aromatica abolished growth in both perchlorate and chlorate but not growth in nitrate, indicating that the pcrABCD genes play a functional role in perchlorate reduction separate from nitrate reduction. Phylogenetic analysis of PcrA and other alpha-subunits of the DMSO reductase family indicated that perchlorate reductase forms a monophyletic group separate from chlorate reductase of Ideonella dechloratans. The separation of perchlorate reductase as an activity distinct from chlorate reductase was further supported by DNA hybridization analysis of (per)chlorate- and chlorate-reducing strains using the pcrA gene as a probe.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Betaproteobacteria / enzymology
  • Betaproteobacteria / genetics*
  • Betaproteobacteria / growth & development
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Environment
  • Genes, Bacterial*
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidoreductases / genetics*
  • Perchlorates / metabolism
  • Phylogeny
  • Sequence Alignment


  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins
  • Perchlorates
  • Oxidoreductases
  • dimethyl sulfoxide reductase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AY180108
  • GENBANK/AY953269
  • GENBANK/AY953270
  • GENBANK/AY953271