Loss of N2O reductase activity as an explanation for poor growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa on N2O.
N2O uptake activity of cells and N2O reductase activity of the soluble fraction from denitrifying bacteria were assayed. Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains PAO1 and P1 lost most of their N2O uptake activity and the ability to grow well on N2O within 2 to 5 h after exposure to N2O. Extensive loss of N2O reductase activity accompanied the nearly complete loss of N2O uptake activity under N2O. Paracoccus denitrificans retained much, but not all, of both activities and the ability to grow vigorously on N2O. The pattern with P. aeruginosa strain P2 resembled that for PAO1 and P1 except that loss of the activities proceeded at a slower rate and growth could continue for up to 12 h after exposure to N2O. The inability of a number of P. aeruginosa strains to grow well on N2O is therefore a direct consequence of the nearly complete loss of N2O reductase activity. Turnover-dependent inactivation of N2O reductase and its reactivation under reducing conditions occurred in vitro for the enzyme from P. aeruginosa and Paracoccus denitrificans. These events may be significant in determining the activity level of N2O reductase in denitrifying bacteria during N2O respiration.