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J Bacteriol. 2001 Feb;183(3):968-79.

Anaerobic metabolism of 3-hydroxybenzoate by the denitrifying bacterium Thauera aromatica.

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  • 1Mikrobiologie, Institut für Biologie II, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg, Germany.


The anaerobic metabolism of 3-hydroxybenzoate was studied in the denitrifying bacterium Thauera aromatica. Cells grown with this substrate were adapted to grow with benzoate but not with 4-hydroxybenzoate. Vice versa, 4-hydroxybenzoate-grown cells did not utilize 3-hydroxybenzoate. The first step in 3-hydroxybenzoate metabolism is a coenzyme A (CoA) thioester formation, which is catalyzed by an inducible 3-hydroxybenzoate-CoA ligase. The enzyme was purified and characterized. Further metabolism of 3-hydroxybenzoyl-CoA by cell extract required MgATP and was coupled to the oxidation of 2 mol of reduced viologen dyes per mol of substrate added. Purification of the 3-hydroxybenzoyl-CoA reducing enzyme revealed that this activity was due to benzoyl-CoA reductase, which reduced the 3-hydroxy analogue almost as efficiently as benzoyl-CoA. The further metabolism of the alicyclic dienoyl-CoA product containing the hydroxyl substitution obviously required additional specific enzymes. Comparison of the protein pattern of 3-hydroxybenzoate-grown cells with benzoate-grown cells revealed several 3-hydroxybenzoate-induced proteins; the N-terminal amino acid sequences of four induced proteins were determined and the corresponding genes were identified and sequenced. A cluster of six adjacent genes contained the genes for substrate-induced proteins 1 to 3; this cluster may not yet be complete. Protein 1 is a short-chain alcohol dehydrogenase. Protein 2 is a member of enoyl-CoA hydratase enzymes. Protein 3 was identified as 3-hydroxybenzoate-CoA ligase. Protein 4 is another member of the enoyl-CoA hydratases. In addition, three genes coding for enzymes of beta-oxidation were present. The anaerobic 3-hydroxybenzoate metabolism here obviously combines an enzyme (benzoyl-CoA reductase) and electron carrier (ferredoxin) of the general benzoyl-CoA pathway with enzymes specific for the 3-hydroxybenzoate pathway. This raises some questions concerning the regulation of both pathways.

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