Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
The transformation of 20 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) through the meta-cleavage pathway by recombinant Escherichia coli cells expressing the bphEFGBC locus from Burkholderia cepacia LB400 and the bphA genes from different sources was compared. The analysis of PCB congeners for which hydroxylation was observed but no formation of the corresponding yellow meta-cleavage product demonstrated that only lightly chlorinated congeners including one tetrachlorobiphenyl (2,2′,4,4′-CB) were transformed into their corresponding yellow meta-cleavage products. Although many other tetrachlorobiphenyls (2,2′,5,5′-CB, 2,2′,3,5′-CB, 2,4,4′,5-CB, 2,3′,4′,5-CB, 2,3′,4,4′-CB) and one pentachlorobiphenyl (2,2′,4,5,5′-CB) tested were depleted from resting cell suspensions, no yellow meta-cleavage products were observed. For most of these congeners, dihydrodiol compounds accumulated as the endproducts, indicating that the bphB-encoded biphenyl-2,3-dihydrodiol-2,3-dehydrogenase is a key limiting step for further degradation of highly chlorinated congeners. These results suggest that engineering the biphenyl dioxygenase alone is insufficient for an improved removal of PCB. Rather, improved degradation of PCBs is more likely to be achieved with recombinant strains containing metabolic pathways not only specifically engineered for expanding the initial dioxygenation but also for the mineralization of PCBs.
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