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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2001 Dec 18;205(2):197-202.

Unmarked gene deletion mutagenesis of kstD, encoding 3-ketosteroid Delta1-dehydrogenase, in Rhodococcus erythropolis SQ1 using sacB as counter-selectable marker.

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Department of Microbiology, Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, University of Goningen, The Netherlands.


This paper reports the first method for the construction of unmarked gene deletion mutants in the genus Rhodococcus. Unmarked deletion of the kstD gene, encoding 3-ketosteroid Delta1-dehydrogenase (KSTD1) in Rhodococcus erythropolis SQ1, was achieved using the sacB counter-selection system. Conjugative mobilization of the mutagenic plasmid from Escherichia coli S17-1 to R. erythropolis strain SQ1 was used to avoid its random genomic integration. The kstD gene deletion mutant, designated strain RG1, still possessed about 10% of the KSTD enzyme activity of wild-type and was not affected in its ability to grow on the steroid substrates 4-androstene-3,17-dione (AD) and 9alpha-hydroxy-4-androstene-3,17-dione (9OHAD). Biochemical evidence subsequently was obtained for the presence of a second KSTD enzyme (KSTD2) in R. erythropolis SQ1. UV mutants of strain RG1 unable to grow on AD were isolated. One of these mutants, strain RG1-UV29, had lost all KSTD enzyme activity and was also unable to grow on 9OHAD. It stoichiometrically converted AD into 9OHAD in concentrations as high as 20 g x l(-1). The two KSTD enzymes apparently both function in AD and 9OHAD catabolism. These isoenzymes have been inactivated in strain RG1 (KSTD1 negative) and strain RG1-UV29 (KSTD1 and KSTD2 negative), respectively.

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