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Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2009 Mar;73(1):71-133. doi: 10.1128/MMBR.00021-08.

Anaerobic catabolism of aromatic compounds: a genetic and genomic view.

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  • 1Departamento de Microbiología Molecular, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Ramiro de Maeztu 9, 28040 Madrid, Spain.

Abstract

Aromatic compounds belong to one of the most widely distributed classes of organic compounds in nature, and a significant number of xenobiotics belong to this family of compounds. Since many habitats containing large amounts of aromatic compounds are often anoxic, the anaerobic catabolism of aromatic compounds by microorganisms becomes crucial in biogeochemical cycles and in the sustainable development of the biosphere. The mineralization of aromatic compounds by facultative or obligate anaerobic bacteria can be coupled to anaerobic respiration with a variety of electron acceptors as well as to fermentation and anoxygenic photosynthesis. Since the redox potential of the electron-accepting system dictates the degradative strategy, there is wide biochemical diversity among anaerobic aromatic degraders. However, the genetic determinants of all these processes and the mechanisms involved in their regulation are much less studied. This review focuses on the recent findings that standard molecular biology approaches together with new high-throughput technologies (e.g., genome sequencing, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metagenomics) have provided regarding the genetics, regulation, ecophysiology, and evolution of anaerobic aromatic degradation pathways. These studies revealed that the anaerobic catabolism of aromatic compounds is more diverse and widespread than previously thought, and the complex metabolic and stress programs associated with the use of aromatic compounds under anaerobic conditions are starting to be unraveled. Anaerobic biotransformation processes based on unprecedented enzymes and pathways with novel metabolic capabilities, as well as the design of novel regulatory circuits and catabolic networks of great biotechnological potential in synthetic biology, are now feasible to approach.

PMID:
19258534
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2650882
Free PMC Article
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