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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2002 Dec;68(12):5933-42.

Gene cloning and characterization of multiple alkane hydroxylase systems in Rhodococcus strains Q15 and NRRL B-16531.

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  • 1Biotechnology Research Institute, National Research Council of Canada, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H4P 2R2.


The alkane hydroxylase systems of two Rhodococcus strains (NRRL B-16531 and Q15, isolated from different geographical locations) were characterized. Both organisms contained at least four alkane monooxygenase gene homologs (alkB1, alkB2, alkB3, and alkB4). In both strains, the alkB1 and alkB2 homologs were part of alk gene clusters, each encoding two rubredoxins (rubA1 and rubA2; rubA3 and rubA4), a putative TetR transcriptional regulatory protein (alkU1; alkU2), and, in the alkB1 cluster, a rubredoxin reductase (rubB). The alkB3 and alkB4 homologs were found as separate genes which were not part of alk gene clusters. Functional heterologous expression of some of the rhodococcal alk genes (alkB2, rubA2, and rubA4 [NRRL B-16531]; alkB2 and rubB [Q15]) was achieved in Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas expression systems. Pseudomonas recombinants containing rhodococcal alkB2 were able to mineralize and grow on C(12) to C(16) n-alkanes. All rhodococcal alkane monooxygenases possessed the highly conserved eight-histidine motif, including two apparent alkane monooxygenase signature motifs (LQRH[S/A]DHH and NYXEHYG[L/M]), and the six hydrophobic membrane-spanning regions found in all alkane monooxygenases related to the Pseudomonas putida GPo1 alkane monooxygenase. The presence of multiple alkane hydroxylases in the two rhodococcal strains is reminiscent of other multiple-degradative-enzyme systems reported in Rhodococcus.

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