Cloning, expression, and characterization of a Coxiella burnetii Cu/Zn Superoxide dismutase. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Periplasmically localized copper-zinc co-factored superoxide dismutase (SodC) enzymes have been identified in a wide range of Gram-negative bacteria and are proposed to protect bacteria from exogenously produced toxic oxygen radicals, which indicates the potential significance of a Coxiella burnetii SodC. RESULTS: Assays for SOD activity demonstrated that the cloned C. burnetii insert codes for a SOD that was active over a wide range of pH and inhibitable with 5mM H2O2 and 1mM sodium diethyldithiocarbamate, a characteristic of Cu/ZnSODs that distinguishes them from Fe or Mn SODs. The sodC was expressed by C. burnetii, has a molecular weight of approximately 18kDa, which is consistent with the predicted molecular weight, and localized towards the periphery of C. burnetii. Over expression of the C. burnetii sodC in an E. coli sodC mutant restored resistance to H2O2 killing to wild type levels. CONCLUSIONS: We have demonstrated that C. burnetii does express a Cu/ZnSOD that is functional at low pH, appears to be excreted, and was able to restore H2O2 resistance in an E. coli sodC mutant. Taken together, these results indicate that the C. burnetii Cu/ZnSOD is a potentially important virulence factor.

published proceedings

  • BMC Microbiol

author list (cited authors)

  • Brennan, R. E., Kiss, K., Baalman, R., & Samuel, J. E.

citation count

  • 12

complete list of authors

  • Brennan, Robert E||Kiss, Katalin||Baalman, Rachael||Samuel, James E

publication date

  • December 2015