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J Bacteriol. 1984 December; 160(3): 928–934.
PMCID: PMC215798

Pseudomonas aeruginosa mutants affected in anaerobic growth on arginine: evidence for a four-gene cluster encoding the arginine deiminase pathway.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO was able to grow in the absence of exogenous terminal electron acceptors, provided that the medium contained 30 to 40 mM L-arginine and 0.4% yeast extract. Under strictly anaerobic conditions (O2 at less than 1 ppm), growth could be measured as an increase in protein and proceeded in a non-exponential way; arginine was largely converted to ornithine but not entirely consumed at the end of growth. In the GasPak anaerobic jar (Becton Dickinson and Co.), the wild-type strain PAO1 grew on arginine-yeast extract medium in 3 to 5 days; mutants could be isolated that were unable to grow under these conditions. All mutants (except one) were defective in at least one of the three enzymes of the arginine deiminase pathway (arcA, arcB, and arcC mutants) or in a novel function that might be involved in anaerobic arginine uptake (arcD mutants). The mutations arcA (arginine deiminase), arcB (catabolic ornithine carbamoyltransferase), arcC (carbamate kinase), and arcD were highly cotransducible and mapped in the 17-min chromosome region. Some mutations in the arc cluster led to low, noninducible levels of all three arginine deiminase pathway enzymes and thus may affect control elements required for induction of the postulated arc operon. Two fluorescent pseudomonads (P. putida and P. fluorescens) and P. mendocina, as well as one PAO mutant, possessed an inducible arginine deiminase pathway and yet were unable to grow fermentatively on arginine. The ability to use arginine-derived ATP for growth may provide P. aeruginosa with a selective advantage when oxygen and nitrate are scarce.

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