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J Bacteriol. 1975 Sep;123(3):1088-106.

Metabolism of N-methylpurines by a Pseudomonas putida strain isolated by enrichment on caffeine as the sole source of carbon and nitrogen.


Pseudomonas putida, strain 40, originally isolated by enrichment on caffeine as the sole source of carbon and nitrogen, has been developed to grow on 0.5% caffeine. The organism will grow on any N-methyl derivative of xanthine containing one or more methyl groups at the 1, 3, or 7 positions. An investigation of the activities of resting cell suspensions and cell-free preparations together with the detection of metabolic intermediates suggest that caffeine is first metabolized by the action of an enzyme which is capable of hydrolytically removing all three methyl groups with the production of methanol and free xanthine. The methanol presumably is oxidized to the final product, CO2, through the sequential action of methanol, formaldehyde, and formate dehydrogenases, which are induced by growth on caffeine. Furthermore, the xanthine would seem to be channeled through conventional pathways of purine degradation through the action of xanthine dehydrogenase and uricase, both induced by growth on caffeine. However, a variety of data suggests that the metabolism of caffeine may be compartmentalized in the cell and metabolized separately from externally added xanthine. Additional studies indicated that the cell is permeable to the methylxanthines. The significance of these findings is discussed.

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