The genetic basis of anoxygenic photosynthetic arsenite oxidation

Environmental Microbiology
By: , and 



“Photoarsenotrophy”, the use of arsenite as an electron donor for anoxygenic photosynthesis, is thought to be an ancient form of phototrophy along with the photosynthetic oxidation of Fe(II), H2S, H2, and NO2-. Photoarsenotrophy was recently identified from Paoha Island's (Mono Lake, CA) arsenic-rich hot springs. The genomes of several photoarsenotrophs revealed a gene cluster, arxB2AB1CD, where arxA is predicted to encode for the sole arsenite oxidase. The role of arxA in photosynthetic arsenite oxidation was confirmed by disrupting the gene in a representative photoarsenotrophic bacterium, resulting in the loss of light-dependent arsenite oxidation. In situ evidence of active photoarsenotrophic microbes was supported by arxA mRNA detection for the first time, in red-pigmented microbial mats within the hot springs of Paoha Island. This work expands on the genetics for photosynthesis coupled to new electron donors and elaborates on known mechanisms for arsenic metabolism, thereby highlighting the complexities of arsenic biogeochemical cycling.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The genetic basis of anoxygenic photosynthetic arsenite oxidation
Series title Environmental Microbiology
DOI 10.1111/1462-2920.13509
Volume 19
Issue 1
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Society for Applied Microbiology
Contributing office(s) National Research Program - Western Branch
Description 12 p.
First page 130
Last page 141