Oxalic acid biosynthesis is encoded by an operon in Burkholderia glumae

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2010 Mar;304(2):177-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2010.01895.x. Epub 2010 Jan 8.


Although the biosynthesis of oxalic acid is known to occur in a number of bacteria, the mechanism(s) regulating its production remains largely unknown. To date, there is no report on the identification of an oxalic acid biosynthetic pathway gene from bacteria. In an attempt to identify such a gene(s), a mutant screen was conducted using the simple oxalic acid-producing phytopathogenic bacterium, Burkholderia glumae. Four mutants that failed to produce oxalic acid were isolated from a transposon-mutagenized B. glumae library and named Burkholderia oxalate defective (Bod)1. DNA sequence analysis revealed that each mutant contained an insertion event at different sites in the same ORF, which we referred to as the oxalate biosynthetic component (obc)A locus. Complementation of the Bod1 mutant with the obcA gene, however, resulted only in a partial restoration of the oxalic acid-producing phenotype. Further complementation studies utilizing a larger DNA fragment encompassing the obcA locus coupled with deletion mutagenesis led to the identification of another ORF that we named the obcB locus, which was essential for higher levels of oxalic acid production. Transcript analysis indicated that both obcA and obcB are coexpressed and encoded on a single polycistron message.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Biosynthetic Pathways / genetics*
  • Burkholderia / genetics*
  • Burkholderia / metabolism*
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Operon*
  • Oxalic Acid / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Oxalic Acid