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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2012 May;78(9):3298-308. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00067-12. Epub 2012 Feb 10.

Glyoxylate metabolism is a key feature of the metabolic degradation of 1,4-dioxane by Pseudonocardia dioxanivorans strain CB1190.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA.


The groundwater contaminant 1,4-dioxane (dioxane) is transformed by several monooxygenase-expressing microorganisms, but only a few of these, including Pseudonocardia dioxanivorans strain CB1190, can metabolize the compound as a sole carbon and energy source. However, nothing is yet known about the genetic basis of dioxane metabolism. In this study, we used a microarray to study differential expression of genes in strain CB1190 grown on dioxane, glycolate (a previously identified intermediate of dioxane degradation), or pyruvate. Of eight multicomponent monooxygenase gene clusters carried by the strain CB1190 genome, only the monooxygenase gene cluster located on plasmid pPSED02 was upregulated with dioxane relative to pyruvate. Plasmid-borne genes for putative aldehyde dehydrogenases, an aldehyde reductase, and an alcohol oxidoreductase were also induced during growth with dioxane. With both dioxane and glycolate, a chromosomal gene cluster encoding a putative glycolate oxidase was upregulated, as were chromosomal genes related to glyoxylate metabolism through the glyoxylate carboligase pathway. Glyoxylate carboligase activity in cell extracts from cells pregrown with dioxane and in Rhodococcus jostii strain RHA1 cells expressing the putative strain CB1190 glyoxylate carboligase gene further demonstrated the role of glyoxylate metabolism in the degradation of dioxane. Finally, we used (13)C-labeled dioxane amino acid isotopomer analysis to provide additional evidence that metabolites of dioxane enter central metabolism as three-carbon compounds, likely as phosphoglycerate. The routing of dioxane metabolites via the glyoxylate carboligase pathway helps to explain how dioxane is metabolized as a sole carbon and energy source for strain CB1190.

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