Integrated co-regulation of bacterial arsenic and phosphorus metabolisms


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Arsenic ranks first on the US Environmental Protection Agency Superfund List of Hazardous Substances. Its mobility and toxicity depend upon chemical speciation, which is significantly driven by microbial redox transformations. Genome sequence-enabled surveys reveal that in many microorganisms genes essential to arsenite (AsIII) oxidation are located immediately adjacent to genes coding for functions associated with phosphorus (Pi) acquisition, implying some type of functional importance to the metabolism of As, Pi or both. We extensively document how expression of genes key to AsIII oxidation and the Pi stress response are intricately co-regulated in the soil bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens. These observations significantly expand our understanding of how environmental factors influence microbial AsIII metabolism and contribute to the current discussion of As and P metabolism in the microbial cell.