Identification of a gene encoding a tetrathionate hydrolase in Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans

Tadayoshi Kanao, Kazuo Kamimura, Tsuyoshi Sugio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Tetrathionate is one of the most important intermediates in dissimilatory sulfur oxidation and can itself be utilized as a sole energy source by some sulfur-oxidizing microorganisms. Tetrathionate hydrolase (4THase) plays a significant role in tetrathionate oxidation and should catalyze the initial step in the oxidative dissimilation when sulfur-oxidizing bacteria are grown on tetrathionate. 4THase activity was detected in tetrathionate-grown Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans ATCC 23270 cells but not in iron-grown cells. A 4THase having a dimeric structure of identical 50 kDa polypeptides was purified from tetrathionate-grown cells. The 4THase showed the maximum activity at pH 3.0 and high stability under acidic conditions. An open reading frame (ORF) encoding the N-terminal amino acid sequence of the purified 4THase was identified by a BLAST search using the database for the A. ferrooxidans ATCC 23270 genome. Heterologous expression of the gene in Escherichia coli resulted in the formation of inclusion bodies of the protein in an inactive form. Antisera against the recombinant protein clearly recognized the purified native 4THase, indicating that the ORF encoded the 4THase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of biotechnology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 15 2007


  • Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans
  • Dissimilatory sulfur oxidation
  • Tetrathionate hydrolase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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