Evolutionary Relationships of Catabolic Functions in Soil Bacteria

  • Kensuke Furukawa
  • Nobutada Kimura
  • Jun Hirose


Within the microbial world, soil bacteria demonstrate a unique metabolic versatility for degradation of a variety of aromatic compounds. The major aromatic pathways discovered in bacteria revealed that essentially all compounds are degraded through a variety of enzymatic steps to limited numbers of common intermediates, such as catechols, which are key compounds for further metabolism. The relationships among the different aromatic pathways and gene clusters often reveal evolutionary changes involved in the development of metabolic routes (xcvan der Meer et al., 1992). Such evolution derived from various genetic events. Biphenyl-utilizing bacteria, widely distributed in the natural environment, include both Gram negative and Gram positive strains (xcFurukawa, 1982). The substrate specificities of biphenyl catabolic enzymes are usually very relaxed. Some bph genes (coding for biphenyl catabolism) are very similar in different strains, suggesting that certain bph genes may transfer among soil bacteria (xcFurukawa et al., 1989). On the other hand, other bph genes are highly diversified and greatly rearranged. Toluene-utilizing bacteria are also widely distributed. Toluene can be metabolized by bacteria by different mechanisms, where substituted groups are modified before or after ring-cleavage, depending on the microorganism. In this communication, evolutionary relationships of catabolic function is discussed, focusing on biphenyl-utilizing and toluene-utilizing bacteria.


Soil Bacterium Pseudomonas Putida Ferredoxin Reductase Hybrid Enzyme Pseudomonas Pseudoalcaligenes 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ahmad, D., Masse, R., and Sylvestre, M., 1990, Cloning and expression of genes involved in 4-chlorobiphenyl transformation by Pseudomonas testosteroni: homology to polychlorobiphenyl-degrading genes in other bacteria, Gene 86:53–61.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Furukawa, K., 1982, Microbial degradation of polychlorinated biphenyls. In: Chakrabarty AM (ed) Biodegradation and Detoxification of Environmental Pollutants pp. 33–57 CRC Press Inc., Boca Raton, Fla.Google Scholar
  3. Furukawa, K., Hayase, N., Taira, K., and Tomizuka, N. 1989, Molecular relationship of chromosomal genes encoding biphenyl/polychlorinated biphenyl catabolism: some soil bacteria possess a highly conserved bph operon. J. Bacteriol. 171: 5467–5472.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Furukawa, K., Hirose, J., Suyama, A., Zaiki, T., and Hayashida, S. 1993, Gene components responsible for discrete substrate specificity in the metabolism of biphenyl (bph operon) and toluene (tod operon), J. Bacteriol. 175:5224–5232.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Harayama, S., and Kok, M. 1992, Functional and evolutionary relationships among diverse organisms, Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 46:565–601.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hayase, N., Taira, K., and Furukawa, K., 1990, Pseudomonas putida KF715 bphABCD operon encoding biphenyl and polychlorinated biphenyl degradation: cloning, analysis and expression in soil bacteria, J. Bacteriol. 172: 1160–1164.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Hirose, J., Suyama, A., Hayashida, S., and Furukawa, K., 1994, Construction of hybrid biphenyl (bph) and toluene (tod) genes for functional analysis of aromatic ring dioxygenases, Gene 138: 27–33PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Khan, A., and Walia, S. 1989, Cloning of bacterial genes specifying degradation of 4-chlorobiphenyl from Pseudomonas putida OU83, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 55: 798–805PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Kikuchi, Y., Yasukochi, Y., Nagata, Y., Fukuda, M., and Takagi, M., 1994, Nucleotide sequence and functional analysis of the meta-cleavage pathway involved in biphenyl and polychlorinated biphenyl degradation in Pseudomonas sp. strain KKS102, J. Bacteriol., 176:4269–4276.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Kimbara, K., Hashimoto, T., Fukuda, M., Koana, T., Takagi, M., Oishi, M., and Yano K (1989) Cloning and sequencing of two t andem genes involved in degradation of 2,3-dihydroxybiphenyl to benzoic acid in the polychlorinated biphenyl-degrading soil bacterium Pseudomonas sp.strain KKS102, J. Bacteriol. 171: 2740–2747PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Mondello, F.J., 1989, Cloning and expression in Escherichia coli of Pseudomonas strain LB400 genes encoding polychlorinated biphenyl degradation, J. Bacteriol. 171: 1725–1732PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Peloquinad, L., and Greer, C.W., 1993, Cloning and expression of the polychlorinated biphenyl-degradation gene cluster from Ar/throbacter M5 and comparison to analogous genes from Gram-negative bacteria, Gene 125: 35–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Taira, K., Hayase, N., Arimura, N., Yamashita, S., Miyazaki, T., and Furukawa, K., 1988, Cloning and nucleotide sequence of the 2,3-dihydroxybiphenyl dioxygenase gene from the PCB-degrading strain of Pseudomonas paucimobilis Q1, Biochemistry 27:3990–3996PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Taira, K., Hirose, J., Hayashida, S., and Furukawa, K., 1992, Analysis of bph operon from the polychlorinated biphenyl-degrading strain of Pseudomonas pseudoalcaligenes KF707, J. Biol. Chem. 267: 4844–4853PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. van der Meer, J.R., de Vos, W.M., Harayama, S., and Zehnder, A.J.B., 1992, Molecular mechanism of genetic adaptation to xenobiotic compounds, Microbiol. Rev. 56:677–694.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Zylstra, G.J., and Gibson, D.T., 1989, Toluene degradation by Pseudomonas putida F1: nucleotide sequence of thetodC1C2BADE genes and their expression in Escherichia coli. J. Biol. Chem. 264: 14940–14946PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kensuke Furukawa
    • 1
  • Nobutada Kimura
    • 1
  • Jun Hirose
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural ChemistryKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan

Personalised recommendations