Cloning, sequencing, and characterization of the hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine degradation gene cluster from Rhodococcus rhodochrous

Helena M.B. Seth-Smith, Susan J. Rosser, Amrik Basran, Emma R. Travis, Eric R. Dabbs, Steve Nicklin, Neil C. Bruce*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) is a high explosive which presents an environmental hazard as a major land and groundwater contaminant. Rhodococcus rhodochrous strain 11Y was isolated from explosive contaminated land and is capable of degrading RDX when provided as the sole source of nitrogen for growth. Products of RDX degradation in resting-cell incubations were analyzed and found to include nitrite, formal-dehyde, and formate. No ammonium was excreted into the medium, and no dead-end metabolites were observed. The gene responsible for the degradation of RDX in strain 11Y is a constitutively expressed cytochrome P450-like gene, xplA, which is found in a gene cluster with an adrenodoxin reductase homologue, xplB. The cytochrome P450 also has a flavodoxin domain at the N terminus. This study is the first to present a gene which has been identified as being responsible for RDX biodegradation. The mechanism of action of XplA on RDX is thought to involve initial denitration followed by spontaneous ring cleavage and mineralization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4764-4771
Number of pages8
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Volume68
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2002

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