Functional analysis of genes involved in biphenyl, naphthalenes, phenanthrene, and m-xylene degradation by Sphingomonas yanoikuyae b1

E. Kim, G. J. Zylstra

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Sphingomonas yanoikuyae B1 is able to utilize toluene, m-xylene, p- xylene, biphenyl, naphthalene, phenanthrene, and anthracene as sole sources of carbon and energy for growth. A forty kilobase region of DNA containing most of the genes for the degradation of these aromatic compounds was previously cloned and sequenced. Insertional inactivation of bphC results in the inability of B1 to grow on both polycyclic and monocyclic compounds. Complementation experiments indicate that the metabolic block is actually due to a polar effect on the expression of bphA3, coding for a ferredoxin component of a dioxygenase. Lack of the ferredoxin results in a nonfunctional polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon dioxygenase and a nonfunctional toluate dioxygenase indicating that the electron transfer components are capable of interacting with multiple oxygenase components. Insertional inactivation of a gene for a dioxygenase oxygenase component downstream of bphA3 had no apparent effect on growth bedsides a polar effect on nahD which is only needed for growth of B1 on naphthalene. Insertional inactivation of either xyIE or xyIG in the meta-cleavage operon results in a polar effect on bphB, the last gene in the operon. However, insertional inactivation of xyIX at the beginning of this cluster of genes does not result in a polar effect suggesting that the genes for the meta-cleavage pathway, although colinear, are organized in at least two operons. These experiments confirm the biological role of several genes involved in metabolism of aromatic compounds by S. yanoikuyae B1 and demonstrate the interdependency of the metabolic pathways for polycyclic and monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbon degradation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-302
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Jan 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

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