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Summary

Shewanella oneidensis strain MR-1 is well known for its respiratory versatility, yet little is understood about how it regulates genes involved in anaerobic respiration. The Arc two-component system plays an important role in this process in Escherichia coli; therefore, we determined its function in S. oneidensis. arcA from S. oneidensis complements an E. coli arcA mutant, but the Arc regulon in S. oneidensis constitutes a different suite of genes. For example, one of the strongest ArcA-regulated gene clusters in E. coli, sdh, is not regulated by the Arc system in S. oneidensis, and the cyd locus, which is induced by ArcA in E. coli under microaerobic conditions, is repressed by ArcA in S. oneidensis under anaerobic conditions. One locus that we identified as being potentially regulated by ArcA in S. oneidensis contains genes predicted to encode subunits of a dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO) reductase. We demonstrate that these genes encode a functional DMSO reductase, and that an arcA mutant cannot fully induce their expression and is defective in growing on DMSO under anaerobic conditions. While S. oneidensis lacks a highly conserved full-length ArcB homologue, ArcA is partially activated by a small protein homologous to the histidine phosphotransfer domain of ArcB from E. coli, HptA. This protein alone is unable to compensate for the lack of arcB in E. coli, indicating that another protein is required in addition to HptA to activate ArcA in S. oneidensis.