Current View of the Mechanisms Controlling the Transcription of the TOL Plasmid Aromatic Degradation Pathways

  • Patricia Domínguez-Cuevas
  • Silvia MarquésEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the Handbook of Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology book series (HHLM)


The TOL plasmid-encoded pathway for the degradation of toluene and derivatives is an archetype in bacterial transcription regulation. Six promoters belonging to different classes and several chromosome- and plasmid-encoded proteins are involved in maintaining optimal expression levels and synchronization with the global cell metabolism. The TOL-encoded regulators are the enhancer-binding protein XylR, which controls the σ54-dependent promoters of the upper pathway Pu and of xylS gene PS1, and the AraC family regulator XylS, which controls the σ3238-dependent meta-cleavage pathway promoter Pm. Both regulators respond to the presence of a specific effector and activate transcription through different mechanisms. Much effort has been devoted to the elucidation of these processes. In this review, recent results are described and discussed in the light of the latest findings and models for homologous family proteins and their interrelationships with the cell metabolism.



This work was supported by the European Regional Development Fund FEDER and grant from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (BIO2014-54361-R).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Environmental ProtectionCSIC, Estación Experimental del ZaidínGranadaSpain

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