, Volume 138, Issue 2, pp 153-160

Benzyl alcohol metabolism by Pseudomonas putida: a paradox resolved

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Abstract

Evidence is presented for the existence in Pseudomonas putida of two NAD-linked dehydrogenases that function sequentially to oxidize benzyl alcohol. Induction of muconate lactonizing enzyme, a 3-oxoadipate pathway enzyme, indicated that P. putida oxidized benzyl alcohol to benzoate. Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis with activity staining and enzymatic assays for an NAD-dependent dehydrogenase both showed that cells contained a single, constitutive alcohol dehydrogenase capable of oxidizing benzyl alcohol. This enzyme was shown to have the same specificity in extracts of glucose-grown as in benzy alcoholgrown cells. An NAD-aldehyde dehydrogenase oxidized benzaldehyde but was most active with normal alkyl aldehydes. This aldehyde dehydrogenase was shown to be induced, by enzymatic assays and by activity staining of polyacrylamide gel electropherograms, not only in cells grown on benzyl alcohol, but also in cells grown on ethanol. These experiments suggested that the aldehyde dehydrogenase was induced by the alcohol being oxidized rather than the substrate aldehyde.

In sum, the evidence from enzyme assays and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of extracts indicates that Pseudomonas putida catabolizes benzyl alcohol slowly when it is the sole carbon and energy source, by the action of a constitutive, nonspecific, alcohol dehydrogenase and an alcohol-induced, nonspecific aldehyde dehydrogenase to yield benzoate, which is further metabolized via the 3-oxoadipate (beta-ketoadipate) pathway.

In memory of R. Y. Stanier