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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1996 Oct;40(10):2276-9.

Plasmid-mediated formaldehyde resistance in Escherichia coli: characterization of resistance gene.

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  • 1Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie und Immunologie, Universitäts-Krankenhaus Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.


The formaldehyde resistance mechanisms in the formaldehyde-resistant strain Escherichia coli VU3695 were investigated. A large (4.6-kb) plasmid DNA fragment encompassing the formaldehyde resistance gene was sequenced. A single 1,107-bp open reading frame encoding a glutathione- and NAD-dependent formaldehyde dehydrogenase was identified and sequenced, and the enzyme was expressed in an in vitro assay and purified. Amino acid sequence homology studies showed 62.4 to 63.2% identity with class III alcohol dehydrogenases isolated from horse, human, and rat livers. We demonstrated that the resistance mechanism in the formaldehyde-resistant strain E. coli VU3695 and in other formaldehyde-resistant members of the family Enterobacteriaceae is based on the enzymatic degradation of formaldehyde by a formaldehyde dehydrogenase.

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