The addition of nitrate to cultures of Spirillum itersonii incubated under low aeration produced a diauxic growth pattern in which the second exponential phase was preceded by the appearance of nitrite in the medium. The organism also grew anaerobically in the presence of nitrate. Nitrate reductase activity could be demonstrated in cell-free extracts by use of reduced methyl viologen as the electron donor. The enzyme was located in the supernatant fraction after centrifugation of extracts for 2 hr at 40,000 × g, and it sedimented as a single peak when centrifuged in a sucrose gradient. Nitrate reductase activity was found in cells grown with low aeration without nitrate, but was increased about twofold by addition of nitrate. Enzyme activity was negligible in cells grown with high aeration. The proportion of soluble cytochrome c was increased two- to threefold in cells grown with nitrate. The specific activities of nitrate reductase and soluble cytochrome c rose when nitrate or nitrite was added to cell suspensions incubated with low aeration; nitrite was more effective than nitrate during the early stages of incubation. A nitrate reductase-negative mutant synthesized increased amounts of soluble cytochrome c in response to nitrate or to nitrite in the cell suspension system. It is concluded that enhanced synthesis of soluble cytochrome c does not require the presence of a functional nitrate reductase
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