, Volume 182, Issue 2-3, pp 147-156

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

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Abstract

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.

This publication is dedicated to the memory of Olga V. Maltseva, who contributed greatly to our current knowledge of biochemistry of degradative pathways for chloroaromatic compounds.
This publication is dedicated to Prof. Dr. Hans G. Schlegel in honor of his 80th birthday.