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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 May;73(10):3327-32. Epub 2007 Mar 30.

Identification of novel genes involved in long-chain n-alkane degradation by Acinetobacter sp. strain DSM 17874.

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  • 1SINTEF Materials and Chemistry, Department of Biotechnology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Sem Saelandsvei 2A, 7465 Trondheim, Norway. Mimmi.Throne-Holst@sintef.no


Acinetobacter sp. strain DSM 17874 is capable of utilizing n-alkanes with chain lengths ranging from that of decane (C10H22) to that of tetracontane (C40H82) as a sole carbon source. Two genes encoding AlkB-type alkane hydroxylase homologues, designated alkMa and alkMb, have been shown to be involved in the degradation of n-alkanes with chain lengths of from 10 to 20 C atoms in this strain. Here, we describe a novel high-throughput screening method and the screening of a transposon mutant library to identify genes involved in the degradation of n-alkanes with C chain lengths longer than 20, which are solid at 30 degrees C, the optimal growth temperature for Acinetobacter sp. strain DSM 17874. A library consisting of approximately 6,800 Acinetobacter sp. strain DSM 17874 transposon mutants was constructed and screened for mutants unable to grow on dotriacontane (C32H66) while simultaneously showing wild-type growth characteristics on shorter-chain n-alkanes. For 23 such mutants isolated, the genes inactivated by transposon insertion were identified. Targeted inactivation and complementation studies of one of these genes, designated almA and encoding a putative flavin-binding monooxygenase, confirmed its involvement in the strain's metabolism of long-chain n-alkanes. To our knowledge, almA represents the first cloned gene shown to be involved in the bacterial degradation of long-chain n-alkanes of 32 C's and longer. Genes encoding AlmA homologues were also identified in other long-chain n-alkane-degrading Acinetobacter strains.

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