Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e46416. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046416. Epub 2012 Oct 3.

Catabolism and detoxification of 1-aminoalkylphosphonic acids: N-acetylation by the phnO gene product.

Author information

Department of Chemistry, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.


In Escherichia coli uptake and catabolism of organophosphonates are governed by the phnCDEFGHIJKLMNOP operon. The phnO cistron is shown to encode aminoalkylphosphonate N-acetyltransferase, which utilizes acetylcoenzyme A as acetyl donor and aminomethylphosphonate, (S)- and (R)-1-aminoethylphosphonate, 2-aminoethyl- and 3-aminopropylphosphonate as acetyl acceptors. Aminomethylphosphonate, (S)-1-aminoethylphosphonate, 2-aminoethyl- and 3-aminopropylphosphonate are used as phosphate source by E. coli phn(+) strains. 2-Aminoethyl- or 3-aminopropylphosphonate but not aminomethylphosphonate or (S)-1-aminoethylphosphonate is used as phosphate source by phnO strains. Neither phn(+) nor phnO strains can use (R)-1-aminoethylphosphonate as phosphate source. Utilization of aminomethylphosphonate or (S)-1-aminoethylphosphonate requires the expression of phnO. In the absence of phnO-expression (S)-1-aminoethylphosphonate is bacteriocidal and rescue of phnO strains requires the simultaneous addition of d-alanine and phosphate. An intermediate of the carbon-phosphorus lyase pathway, 5'-phospho-α-d-ribosyl 1'-(2-N-acetamidoethylphosphonate), a substrate for carbon-phosphorus lyase, was found to accumulate in cultures of a phnP mutant strain. The data show that the physiological role of N-acetylation by phnO-specified aminoalkylphosphonate N-acetyltransferase is to detoxify (S)-1-aminoethylphosphonate, an analog of d-alanine, and to prepare (S)-1-aminoethylphosphonate and aminomethylphosphonate for utilization of the phosphorus-containing moiety.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center