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Genetic and functional analysis of the tbc operons for catabolism of alkyl- and chloroaromatic compounds in Burkholderia sp. strain JS150

Kahng, H.Y., Malinverni, J.C., Majko, M.M., Kukor, J.J.
Applied and environmental microbiology 2001 v.67 no.10 pp. 4805-4816
metabolism, open reading frames, biochemical pathways, organochlorine compounds, operon, Pseudomonadaceae, biodegradation, oxygenases
Burkholderia sp. strain JS150 is able to metabolize a wide range of alkyl-and chloroaromatic hydrocarbons through multiple, apparently redundant catabolic pathways. Previous research has shown that strain JS150 is able to synthesize enzymes for multiple upper pathways as well as multiple lower pathways to accommodate variously substituted catechols that result from degradation of complex mixtures of monoaromatic compounds. We report here the genetic organization and functional characterization of a gene cluster, designated tbc (for toluene, benzene, and chlorobenzene utilization), which has been cloned as a 14.3-kb DNA fragment from strain JS150 into vector pRO1727. The cloned DNA fragment expressed in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1c allowed the recombinant to grow on toluene or benzene and to transform chlorobenzene, trichloroethylene, phenol, and cresols. The tbc genes are organized into two divergently transcribed operons, tbc1 and tbc2, each comprised of six open reading frames. Similarity searches of databases revealed that the tbc1 and tbc2 genes showed significant homology to multicomponent cresol and phenol hydroxylases and to toluene and benzene monooxygenases, respectively. Deletion mutagenesis and product analysis were used to demonstrate that tbc2 plays a role in the initial catabolism of the unactivated alkyl- or chloroaromatic substrate and that the tbc1 gene products play a role in the catabolism of the first metabolite that results from transformation of the initial substrate. Phylogenetic analysis was used to compare individual components of these tbc monooxygenases with similar sequences in the databases. These results provide further evidence for the existence of multiple, functionally redundant alkyl- and chloroaromatic monooxygenases in strain JS150.