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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Jan;72(1):585-95.

Genetic and genomic insights into the role of benzoate-catabolic pathway redundancy in Burkholderia xenovorans LB400.

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  • 1Center for Microbial Ecology, 540 Plant and Soil Sciences Building, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.


Transcriptomic and proteomic analyses of Burkholderia xenovorans LB400, a potent polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) degrader, have implicated growth substrate- and phase-dependent expression of three benzoate-catabolizing pathways: a catechol ortho cleavage (ben-cat) pathway and two benzoyl-coenzyme A pathways, encoded by gene clusters on the large chromosome (boxC) and the megaplasmid (boxM). To elucidate the significance of this apparent redundancy, we constructed mutants with deletions of the ben-cat pathway (the DeltabenABCD::kan mutant), the boxC pathway (the DeltaboxABC::kan mutant), and both pathways (the DeltabenABCDDelta boxABC::kan mutant). All three mutants oxidized benzoate in resting-cell assays. However, the DeltabenABCD::kan and DeltabenABCD DeltaboxABC::kan mutants grew at reduced rates on benzoate and displayed increased lag phases. By contrast, growth on succinate, on 4-hydroxybenzoate, and on biphenyl was unaffected. Microarray and proteomic analyses revealed that cells of the DeltabenABCD::kan mutant growing on benzoate expressed both box pathways. Overall, these results indicate that all three pathways catabolize benzoate. Deletion of benABCD abolished the ability of LB400 to grow using 3-chlorobenzoate. None of the benzoate pathways could degrade 2- or 4-chlorobenzoate, indicating that the pathway redundancy does not directly contribute to LB400's PCB-degrading capacities. Finally, an extensive sigmaE-regulated oxidative stress response not present in wild-type LB400 grown on benzoate was detected in these deletion mutants, supporting our earlier suggestion that the box pathways are preferentially active under reduced oxygen tension. Our data further substantiate the expansive network of tightly interconnected and complexly regulated aromatic degradation pathways in LB400.

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