Nitrate- and Nitrite-Reductase Activities in Mycobacterium Avium A5
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M. avium genome has been sequenced and contains genes sharing sequence similarities to respiratory nitrate reductase and dissimilatory nitrite reductases. Because, M. avium can use nitrate or nitrite as sole nitrogen source for growth (McCarthy, 1987), it must have assimilatory nitrate- and nitrite-reductases. Nitrate- and nitrite-reductase activities of M. avium cells growing aerobically or undergoing anaerobic shift in the presence of ammonia, nitrate or ammonia and nitrate in combination were measured. M. avium produced nitrate- as well as nitrite-reductase activity. Nitrite- and nitrate-reductases used either NADH or NADPH as an electron donor. Nitrite reductase activity was greater than nitrate reductase activity. This observation supports the rapid reduction of nitrite and slow reduction of nitrate in M. avium as documented by McCarthy (1987) and explained why M. avium gives a negative result by the standard nitrate reductase test. In addition to assimilatory enzyme activity, M. avium A5 also produced dissimilatory nitrate- and nitrite-reductase activities.
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