, Volume 5, Issue 3-4, pp 249-257

Genetics and biochemistry of 1,2-dichloroethane degradation

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Dichloroethane (1,2-DCE) is a synthetic compound that is not known to be formed naturally. Nevertheless, several pure microbial cultures are able to use it as a sole carbon source for growth. Degradation of 1,2-DCE proceeds via 2-chloroethanol, chloroacetaldehyde and chloroacetate to glycolate. The genes encoding the enzymes responsible for the conversion of 1,2-DCE to glycolic acid have been isolated. The haloalkane dehalogenase and an aldehyde dehydrogenase are plasmid encoded. Two other enzymes, the alcohol dehydrogenase and the haloacid dehalogenase, are chromosomally encoded. Sequence analysis indicates that the haloacid dehalogenase belongs to the L-specific 2-chloroproprionic acid dehalogenases. From the three-dimensional structure and sequence similarities, the haloalkane dehalogenase appears to be a member of the α/β hydrolase fold hydrolytic enzymes, of which several are involved in the degradation of aromatic and aliphatic xenobiotic compounds.