Transcriptional profiling of the marine oil-degrading bacterium Alcanivorax borkumensis during growth on n-alkanes


  • Editor: Michael Galperin

Correspondence: Julia S. Sabirova, Laboratory of Industrial Microbiology and Biocatalysis, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium. Tel.: +32 9 264 93 85; fax: +32 9 264 62 31; e-mail:


The marine oil-degrading bacterium Alcanivorax borkumensis SK2 has attracted significant interest due to its hydrocarbonoclastic lifestyle, its alkane-centered metabolism, and for playing an important ecological role in cleaning up marine oil spills. In this study, we used microarray technology to characterize the transcriptional responses of A. borkumensis to n-hexadecane exposure as opposed to pyruvate, which led to the identification of a total of 220 differentially expressed genes, with 109 genes being upregulated and 111 genes being downregulated. Among the genes upregulated on alkanes are systems predicted to be involved in the terminal oxidation of alkanes, biofilm formation, signal transduction, and regulation.