Original Paper

Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 182, Issue 2, pp 147-156

First online:

Microorganisms degrading chlorobenzene via a meta-cleavage pathway harbor highly similar chlorocatechol 2,3-dioxygenase-encoding gene clusters

  • Markus GöbelAffiliated withChemische Mikrobiologie, Bergische Universität WuppertalDepartment of Biology, The University of Konstanz
  • , Oliver H. KranzAffiliated withChemische Mikrobiologie, Bergische Universität Wuppertal
  • , Stefan R. KaschabekAffiliated withInterdisziplinäres Ökologisches Zentrum, TU Bergakademie Freiberg
  • , Eberhard SchmidtAffiliated withChemische Mikrobiologie, Bergische Universität Wuppertal
  • , Dietmar H. PieperAffiliated withDepartment o f Environmental Microbiology, GBF-German Research Center for Biotechnology
  • , Walter ReinekeAffiliated withChemische Mikrobiologie, Bergische Universität Wuppertal Email author 

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Pseudomonas putida GJ31 harbors a degradative pathway for chlorobenzene via meta-cleavage of 3-chlorocatechol. Pseudomonads using this route for chlorobenzene degradation, which was previously thought to be generally unproductive, were isolated from various contaminated environments of distant locations. The new isolates, Pseudomonas fluorescens SK1 (DSM16274), Pseudomonas veronii 16-6A (DSM16273), Pseudomonas sp. strain MG61 (DSM16272), harbor a chlorocatechol 2,3-dioxygenase (CbzE). The cbzE-like genes were cloned, sequenced, and expressed from the isolates and a mixed culture. The chlorocatechol 2,3-dioxygenases shared 97% identical amino acids with CbzE from strain GJ31, forming a distinct family of catechol 2,3-dioxygenases. The chlorocatechol 2,3-dioxygenase, purified from chlorobenzene-grown cells of strain SK1, showed an identical N-terminal sequence with the amino acid sequence deduced from cloned cbzE. In all investigated chlorobenzene-degrading strains, cbzT-like genes encoding ferredoxins are located upstream of cbzE. The sequence data indicate that the ferredoxins are identical (one amino acid difference in CbzT of strain 16-6A compared to the others). In addition, the structure of the operon downstream of cbzE is identical in strains GJ31, 16-6A, and SK1 with genes cbzX (unknown function) and the known part of cbzG (2-hydroxymuconic semialdehyde dehydrogenase) and share 100% nucleotide sequence identity with the entire downstream region. The current study suggests that meta-cleavage of 3-chlorocatechol is not an atypical pathway for the degradation of chlorobenzene.


Degradation of chloroaromatic compounds Meta-cleavage pathway