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Biodegradation. 1994 Dec;5(3-4):161-74.

Genetics of alkane oxidation by Pseudomonas oleovorans.

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  • 1Institute of Biotechnology, ETH-Hönggerberg, Zürich, Switzerland.


Many Pseudomonads are able to use linear alkanes as sole carbon and energy source. The genetics and enzymology of alkane metabolism have been investigated in depth for Pseudomonas oleovorans, which is able to oxidize C5-C12 n-alkanes by virtue of two gene regions, localized on the OCT-plasmid. The so-called alk-genes have been cloned in pLAFR1, and were subsequent analyzed using minicell expression experiments, DNA sequencing and deletion analysis. This has led to the identification and characterization of of the alkBFGHJKL and alkST genes which encode all proteins necessary to convert alkanes to the corresponding acyl-CoA derivatives. These then enter the beta-oxidation-cycle, and can be utilized as carbon- and energy sources. Medium (C6-C12)- or long-chain (C13-C20) n-alkanes can be utilized by many strains, some of which have been partially characterized. The alkane-oxidizing enzymes used by some of these strains (e.g. two P. aeruginosa strains, a P. denitrificans strain and a marine Pseudomonas sp.) appear to be closely related to those encoded by the OCT-plasmid.

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