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J Bacteriol. 1989 Sep;171(9):5048-55.

Characterization of five genes in the upper-pathway operon of TOL plasmid pWW0 from Pseudomonas putida and identification of the gene products.

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  • 1Department of Medical Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, Switzerland.


The upper operon of the TOL plasmid pWW0 of Pseudomonas putida encodes a set of enzymes which transform toluene and xylenes to benzoate and toluates. The genetic organization of the operon was characterized by cloning of the upper operon genes into an expression vector and identification of their products in Escherichia coli maxicells. This analysis showed that the upper operon contains at least five genes in the order of xylC-xylM-xylA-xylB-xylN. Between the promoter of the operon and xylC, there is a 1.7-kilobase-long space of DNA in which no gene function was identified. In contrast, most of the DNA between xylC and xylN consists of coding sequences. The xylC gene encodes the 57-kilodalton benzaldehyde dehydrogenase. The xylM and xylA genes encode 35- and 40-kilodalton polypeptides, respectively, which were shown by genetic complementation tests to be subunits of xylene oxygenase. The structural gene for benzyl alcohol dehydrogenase, xylB, encodes a 40-kilodalton polypeptide. The last gene of this operon is xylN, which synthesizes a 52-kilodalton polypeptide of unknown function.

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