A new type of sulfite oxidase which utilizes ferric ion (Fe3+) as an electron acceptor was found in iron-grown Thiobacillus ferrooxidans. It was localized in the plasma membrane of the bacterium and had a pH optimum at 6.0. Under aerobic conditions, 1 mol of sulfite was oxidized by the enzyme to produce 1 mol of sulfate. Under anaerobic conditions in the presence of Fe3+, sulfite was oxidized by the enzyme as rapidly as it was under aerobic conditions. In the presence of o-phenanthroline or a chelator for Fe2+, the production of Fe2+ was observed during sulfite oxidation by this enzyme under not only anaerobic conditions but also aerobic conditions. No Fe2+ production was observed in the absence of o-phenanthroline, suggesting that the Fe2+ produced was rapidly reoxidized by molecular oxygen. Neither cytochrome c nor ferricyanide, both of which are electron acceptors for other sulfite oxidases, served as an electron acceptor for the sulfite oxidase of T. ferrooxidans. The enzyme was strongly inhibited by chelating agents for Fe3+. The physiological role of sulfite oxidase in sulfur oxidation of T. ferrooxidans is discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology