Phosphatase-mediated heavy metal accumulation by a Citrobacter sp. and related enterobacteria

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1994 Aug 15;121(2):141-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.1994.tb07090.x.


A Citrobacter sp. was reported previously to accumulate heavy metals as cell-bound heavy metal phosphates. Metal uptake is mediated by the activity of a periplasmic acid-type phosphatase that liberates inorganic phosphate to provide the precipitant ligand for heavy metals presented to the cells. Amino acid sequencing of peptide fragments of the purified enzyme revealed significant homology to the phoN product (acid phosphatase) of some other enterobacteria. These organisms, together with Klebsiella pneumoniae, previously reported to produce acid phosphatase, were tested for their ability to remove uranium and lanthanum from challenge solutions supplemented with phosphatase substrate. The coupling of phosphate liberation to metal bioaccumulation was limited to the metal accumulating Citrobacter sp.; therefore the participation of species-specific additional factors in metal bioaccumulation was suggested.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acid Phosphatase / metabolism*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Citrobacter / metabolism*
  • Enterobacter / metabolism*
  • Lanthanum / analysis*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Salmonella typhimurium / metabolism*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Uranium / analysis*


  • Uranium
  • Lanthanum
  • Acid Phosphatase