sp. O23S is a dissimilatory arsenate reducing bacterial strain involved in arsenic transformations within the abandoned gold mine in Zloty Stok (SW Poland). Previous physiological studies revealed that O23S may not only release arsenic from minerals, but also facilitate its immobilization through co-precipitation with reduced sulfur species. Given these uncommon, complementary characteristics and the application potential of the strain in arsenic-removal technologies, its genome (~5.3 Mbp), consisting of a single chromosome, two large plasmids (pSheA and pSheB) and three small plasmid-like phages (pSheC-E) was sequenced and annotated. Genes encoding putative proteins involved in heavy metal transformations, antibiotic resistance and other phenotypic traits were identified. An in-depth comparative analysis of arsenic respiration (arr
) and resistance (ars
) genes and their genetic context was also performed, revealing that pSheB carries the only copy of the arr
genes, and a complete ars
operon. The plasmid pSheB is therefore a unique natural vector of these genes, providing the host cells arsenic respiration and resistance abilities. The functionality of the identified genes was determined based on the results of the previous and additional physiological studies, including: the assessment of heavy metal and antibiotic resistance under various conditions, adhesion-biofilm formation assay and BiologTM
metabolic preferences test. This combined genetic and physiological approach shed a new light on the capabilities of O23S and their molecular basis, and helped to confirm the biosafety of the strain in relation to its application in bioremediation technologies.
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