Beijerinckia sp strain B1: a strain by any other name . . . . .

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sp strain B1 grows with biphenyl as its sole source of carbon and energy. A mutant, strain B8/36, oxidized biphenyl to cis-(2S,3R)-dihydroxy-l-phenylcyclohexa-4,6-diene (cis-biphenyl dihydrodiol). Strain B8/36 oxidized anthracene, phenanthrene, benz[a]anthracene and benzo[a]pyrene to cis-dihydrodiols. Other substrates oxidized to cis-dihydrodiols were dibenzofuran, dibenzothiophene and dibenzo-p-dioxin. Biphenyl dioxygenase activity was observed in cells of Beijerinckia B1 and B8/36 after growth in the presence of biphenyl, m-, p-xylene and salicylate. Recent studies have led to the reclassification of Beijerinckia B1 as Sphingomonas yanoikuyae strain B1. Subsequent biotransformation studies showed that S. yanoikuyae B8/36 oxidized chrysene to a bis-cis-diol with hydroxyl substituents at the 3,4- and 9,10-positions. Dihydronaphthalene was oxidized to cis-1,2-dihydroxy-1,2,3,4-tetrahydronaphthalene, naphthalene, cis-1,2-dihydroxy-1,2-dihydronaphthalene and 2-hydroxy-1,2-dihydronaphthalene. Anisole and phenetole were oxidized to phenol. Thus the S. yanoikuyae biphenyl dioxygenase catalyzes cis-dihydroxylation, benzylic monohydroxylation, desaturation and dealkylation reactions. To date, the genes encoding biphenyl dioxygenase have not been cloned. However, the nucleotide sequence of a S. yanoikuyaeB1 DNA fragment contains five different α subunits as determined by conserved amino acids coordinating iron in a Rieske [2Fe-2S] center and mononuclear iron at the catalytic site. The specific role of the different putative oxygenases in biotransformation reactions catalyzed by S. yanoikuyae is not known and presents an exciting challenge for future studies.

Received 29 May 1999/ Accepted in revised form 23 June 1999