Two novel reductive dehalogenases (RDases) that are highly similar to each other but catalyse distinct dechlorination reactions were identified from Dehalobacter-containing mixed cultures. These two RDases were partially purified from crude protein extracts of anaerobic dechlorinating enrichment cultures using blue native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Gel slices were assayed for dechlorinating activity, and associated proteins were identified using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry with the metagenome of the parent culture as the reference database. The two RDases identified, annotated as CfrA and DcrA, share an amino acid identity of 95.2 per cent, but use different substrates: CfrA dechlorinates chloroform (CF) and 1,1,1-trichloroethane (1,1,1-TCA), but not 1,1-dichloroethane; DcrA dechlorinates 1,1-dichloroethane, but not CF or 1,1,1-TCA. These two novel RDases share no more than 40 per cent amino acid identity to any other known or putative RDases, but both have a twin-arginine motif and two iron-sulfur binding motifs conserved in most RDases. Peptides specific to two putative membrane anchor proteins, annotated as CfrB and DcrB, were also detected in gel slices.
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