The oxalic acid biosynthetic activity of Burkholderia mallei is encoded by a single locus

Microbiol Res. 2011 Oct 20;166(7):531-8. doi: 10.1016/j.micres.2010.11.002. Epub 2011 Jan 15.


Although it is known that oxalic acid provides a selective advantage to the secreting microbe our understanding of how this acid is biosynthesized remains incomplete. This study reports the identification, cloning, and partial characterization of the oxalic acid biosynthetic enzyme from the animal bacterial pathogen, Burkholderia mallei. The discovered gene was named oxalate biosynthetic component (obc)1. Complementation of Burkholderia oxalate defective (Bod)1, a Burkholderia glumae mutant that lacks expression of a functional oxalic acid biosynthetic operon, revealed that the obc1 was able to rescue the no oxalate mutant phenotype. This single gene rescue is in contrast to the situation found in B. glumae which required the expression of two genes, obcA and obcB, to achieve complementation. Enzyme assays showed that even though the two Burkholderia species differed in the number of genes required to encode a functional enzyme, both catalyzed the same acyl-CoA dependent biosynthetic reaction. In addition, mutagenesis studies suggested a similar domain structure of the assembled oxalate biosynthetic enzymes whether encoded by one or two genes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Biosynthetic Pathways / genetics*
  • Burkholderia mallei / genetics*
  • Burkholderia mallei / metabolism*
  • Gene Deletion
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oxalic Acid / metabolism*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Oxalic Acid