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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1999 Oct;65(10):4575-81.

Utilization of trihalogenated propanes by Agrobacterium radiobacter AD1 through heterologous expression of the haloalkane dehalogenase from Rhodococcus sp. strain M15-3.

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Department of Biochemistry, Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, University of Groningen, 9747 AG Groningen, The Netherlands.


Trihalogenated propanes are toxic and recalcitrant organic compounds. Attempts to obtain pure bacterial cultures able to use these compounds as sole carbon and energy sources were unsuccessful. Both the haloalkane dehalogenase from Xanthobacter autotrophicus GJ10 (DhlA) and that from Rhodococcus sp. strain m15-3 (DhaA) were found to dehalogenate trihalopropanes to 2,3-dihalogenated propanols, but the kinetic properties of the latter enzyme are much better. Broad-host-range dehalogenase expression plasmids, based on RSF1010 derivatives, were constructed with the haloalkane dehalogenase from Rhodococcus sp. strain m15-3 under the control of the heterologous promoters P(lac), P(dhlA), and P(trc). The resulting plasmids yielded functional expression in several gram-negative bacteria. A catabolic pathway for trihalopropanes was designed by introducing these broad-host-range dehalogenase expression plasmids into Agrobacterium radiobacter AD1, which has the ability to utilize dihalogenated propanols for growth. The recombinant strain AD1(pTB3), expressing the haloalkane dehalogenase gene under the control of the dhlA promoter, was able to utilize both 1,2,3-tribromopropane and 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane as sole carbon sources. Moreover, increased expression of the haloalkane dehalogenase resulted in elevated resistance to trihalopropanes.

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