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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Dec 1981; 78(12): 7458–7462.
PMCID: PMC349287

Molecular and functional analysis of the TOL plasmid pWWO from Pseudomonas putida and cloning of genes for the entire regulated aromatic ring meta cleavage pathway.


The genetic organization of the Pseudomonas putida plasmid pWWO-161, which encodes enzymes for the degradation of toluene and related aromatic hydrocarbons, has been investigated by transposition mutagenesis and gene cloning. Catabolic genes were localized to two clusters, one for upper pathway (hydrocarbon leads to carboxylic acid) enzymes and the other for lower pathway (carboxylic acid leads to tricarboxylic acid cycle) enzymes, that are separated by a 14-kilobase DNA segment. The physical organization of the catabolic genes thus reflects their functional organization into two regulatory blocks. The pWWO-161 DNA fragments Sst I fragment C and fragment D were cloned in a broad host range vector to produce plasmid pKT530. This hybrid encodes toluate oxygenase and all meta cleavage pathway enzymes, and it enables P. putida mt-2 and Escherichia coli K-12 cells to grow on m-toluate as sole carbon source. The pKT530 plasmid also carries xylS (a gene whose product has been postulated to regulate expression of the lower pathway genes) and the control sequences of the pathway that interact with this product, because catechol 2,3-oxygenase synthesis is specifically induced by m-toluate in both P. putida and E. coli. Evidence is presented that suggests the promoter operator of the meta pathway gene functions less effectively with the RNA polymerase or xylS product of E. coli than with the enzyme or product of P. putida.

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Selected References

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