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Gene encoding γ-carbonic anhydrase is cotranscribed with argC and induced in response to stationary phase and high CO2 in Azospirillum brasilense Sp7

Simarjot Kaur, Mukti N Mishra and Anil K Tripathi*

Author Affiliations

School of Biotechnology, Faculty of Science, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi-221005, India

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BMC Microbiology 2010, 10:184  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-10-184

Published: 4 July 2010



Carbonic anhydrase (CA) is a ubiquitous enzyme catalyzing the reversible hydration of CO2 to bicarbonate, a reaction underlying diverse biochemical and physiological processes. Gamma class carbonic anhydrases (γ-CAs) are widespread in prokaryotes but their physiological roles remain elusive. At present, only γ-CA of Methanosarcina thermophila (Cam) has been shown to have CA activity. Genome analysis of a rhizobacterium Azospirillum brasilense, revealed occurrence of ORFs encoding one β-CA and two γ-CAs.


One of the putative γ-CA encoding genes of A. brasilense was cloned and overexpressed in E. coli. Electrometric assays for CA activity of the whole cell extracts overexpressing recombinant GCA1 did not show CO2 hydration activity. Reverse transcription-PCR analysis indicated that gca1 in A. brasilense is co-transcribed with its upstream gene annotated as argC, which encodes a putative N-acetyl-γ-glutamate-phosphate reductase. 5'-RACE also demonstrated that there was no transcription start site between argC and gca1, and the transcription start site located upstream of argC transcribed both the genes (argC-gca1). Using transcriptional fusions of argC-gca1 upstream region with promoterless lacZ, we further demonstrated that gca1 upstream region did not have any promoter and its transcription occurred from a promoter located in the argC upstream region. The transcription of argC-gca1 operon was upregulated in stationary phase and at elevated CO2 atmosphere.


This study shows lack of CO2 hydration activity in a recombinant protein expressed from a gene predicted to encode a γ-carbonic anhydrase in A. brasilense although it cross reacts with anti-Cam antibody raised against a well characterized γ-CA. The organization and regulation of this gene along with the putative argC gene suggests its involvement in arginine biosynthetic pathway instead of the predicted CO2 hydration.