Degradation of Aromatic Compounds in Pseudomonas: A Systems Biology View

  • J. Nogales
  • José L. García
  • E. DíazEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the Handbook of Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology book series (HHLM)


The increased use of the “omic” techniques, e.g., genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and fluxomics, as well as the systems biology approaches for addressing biological complexity from a holistic perspective, has contributed significantly to accelerate and complete our understanding on different aspects of the physiology, ecology, biochemistry, and regulatory mechanisms underlying the catabolism of aromatic compounds in bacteria of the Pseudomonas genus. Toxic aromatic compounds simultaneously serve as potential nutrients to be metabolized by bacteria but also as cellular stressors. When bacteria are exposed to these compounds they exhibit a multifactorial response that comprises three major intimately connected programs: (i) metabolic programs that involve not only the compound-specific pathways but also their integration within the global metabolism of the host cell; (ii) stress-response programs, e.g., changes in lipid metabolism, efflux pumps, or molecular chaperones, for adaptation to sub-optimal growth conditions; and (iii) a social program, including cell motility and chemotaxis, reorganization of the cell envelope, biofilm formation, and cell-to-cell interactions. As individual cells rarely metabolize a wide range of substrates, metabolic specialization within the bacterial population becomes a relevant trait in the assembly of efficient microbial biodegrader communities. Genome-scale metabolic models of several Pseudomonas strains have been performed. These models, when combined with the emergent synthetic biology approaches, can be used to explore the potential of Pseudomonas as cell factories in different biotechnological applications. Therefore, Pseudomonas becomes a paradigmatic bacterial genus both for increasing basic knowledge on the catabolism of aromatic compounds and for the bioremediation and/or biosensing of toxic pollutants and the valorization of aromatic compounds present in biowaste toward a sustainable knowledge-based bioeconomy with social and environmental rewards.



Work in our laboratory was supported by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of Spain Grant BIO2012-39501, BIO2016-79736-R, BIO2014-59528-JIN, and PCIN2014-113, European Union FP7 Grant 311815, and Fundación Ramón-Areces XVII CN.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental BiologyCentro de Investigaciones Biológicas, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones CientíficasMadridSpain

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