, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 859-881
Date: 18 Apr 2008

Genomic analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon degradation in Mycobacterium vanbaalenii PYR-1

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Mycobacterium vanbaalenii PYR-1 is well known for its ability to degrade a wide range of high-molecular-weight (HMW) polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The genome of this bacterium has recently been sequenced, allowing us to gain insights into the molecular basis for the degradation of PAHs. The 6.5 Mb genome of PYR-1 contains 194 chromosomally encoded genes likely associated with degradation of aromatic compounds. The most distinctive feature of the genome is the presence of a 150 kb major catabolic region at positions 494 ~ 643 kb (region A), with an additional 31 kb region at positions 4,711 ~ 4,741 kb (region B), which is predicted to encode most enzymes for the degradation of PAHs. Region A has an atypical mosaic structure made of several gene clusters in which the genes for PAH degradation are complexly arranged and scattered around the clusters. Significant differences in the gene structure and organization as compared to other well-known aromatic hydrocarbon degraders including Pseudomonas and Burkholderia were revealed. Many identified genes were enriched with multiple paralogs showing a remarkable range of diversity, which could contribute to the wide variety of PAHs degraded by M. vanbaalenii PYR-1. The PYR-1 genome also revealed the presence of 28 genes involved in the TCA cycle. Based on the results, we proposed a pathway in which HMW PAHs are degraded into the β-ketoadipate pathway through protocatechuate and then mineralized to CO2 via TCA cycle. We also identified 67 and 23 genes involved in PAH degradation and TCA cycle pathways, respectively, to be expressed as proteins.

S.-J. Kim and O. Kweon contributed equally to this work.