New alk genes detected in Antarctic marine sediments

Authors

  • Emanuele Kuhn,

    1. Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Department of Microbiology, University of São Paulo, Prof. Lineu Prestes Ave, 1374 – Cidade Universitária, São Paulo – SP, CEP 05508-900, Brazil.
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  • Giovani Sebben Bellicanta,

    1. Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Department of Microbiology, University of São Paulo, Prof. Lineu Prestes Ave, 1374 – Cidade Universitária, São Paulo – SP, CEP 05508-900, Brazil.
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  • Vivian Helena Pellizari

    Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author

*E-mail vivianp@usp.br; Tel. (+55) 11 30917205, Fax (+55) 11 30917354.

Summary

Alkane monooxygenases (Alk) are the key enzymes for alkane degradation. In order to understand the dispersion and diversity of alk genes in Antarctic marine environments, this study analysed by clone libraries the presence and diversity of alk genes (alkB and alkM) in sediments from Admiralty Bay, King George Island, Peninsula Antarctica. The results show a differential distribution of alk genes between the sites, and the predominant presence of new alk genes, mainly in the pristine site. Sequences presented 53.10–69.60% nucleotide identity and 50.90–73.40% amino acid identity to alkB genes described in Silicibacter pomeroyi, Gordonia sp., Prauserella rugosa, Nocardioides sp., Rhodococcus sp., Nocardia farcinica, Pseudomonas putida, Acidisphaera sp., Alcanivorax borkumensis, and alkM described in Acinetobacter sp. This is the first time that the gene alkM was detected and described in Antarctic marine environments. The presence of a range of previously undescribed alk genes indicates the need for further studies in this environment.

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