Oxidation of gasoline oxygenates by closely related non-haem-iron alkane hydroxylases in Pseudomonas mendocina KR1 and other n-octane-utilizing Pseudomonas strains


E-mail michael_hyman@ncsu.edu; Tel. (+1) 919 515 7814; Fax (+1) 919 515 7867.


Pseudomonas mendocina KR1 oxidizes the gasoline oxygenate methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) to tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA) during growth on C5–C8n-alkanes. We have further explored oxidation of ether oxygenates by this strain to help identify the enzyme that catalyses these reactions. High levels of MTBE-oxidizing activity occurred in resting cells grown on C5–C8n-alkanes. Lower activities occurred in cells grown on longer-chain n-alkanes (C9–C11) and 1°-alcohols (C5–C10). N-octane-grown cells also oxidized tertiary amyl methyl ether (TAME) to tertiary amyl alcohol (TAA), but did not oxidize ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE), TBA or TAA. A 39 kDa polypeptide in whole cell extracts of n-octane-grown cells strongly cross-reacted with an anti-AlkB polyclonal antiserum in an SDS-PAGE/immunoblot. This polypeptide was absent or less abundant in cells grown on dextrose, dextrose plus dicyclopropylketone or 1-octanol. N-octane-grown cells of Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains KSLA-473 and ATCC 17423 oxidized MTBE and TAME but not ETBE. N-hexadecane-grown cells of these strains and strain PAO1 did not oxidize any of the oxygenates tested. Our results indicate ether oxygenate-degrading activity in alkane-utilizing pseudomonads is consistently observed with close homologues of the GPo1 non-haem-iron alkane hydroxylases but is otherwise not a consistent catalytic feature of these diverse enzymes.