Pseudomonas stutzeri OX1 meta pathway genes for toluene and o-xylene catabolism were analyzed, and loci encoding phenol hydroxylase, catechol 2,3-dioxygenase, 2-hydroxymuconate semialdehyde dehydrogenase, and 2-hydroxymuconate semialdehyde hydrolase were mapped. Phenol hydroxylase converted a broad range of substrates, as it was also able to transform the nongrowth substrates 2,4-dimethylphenol and 2,5-dimethylphenol into 3,5-dimethylcatechol and 3,6-dimethylcatechol, respectively, which, however, were not cleaved by catechol 2,3-dioxygenase. The identified gene cluster displayed a gene order similar to that of the Pseudomonas sp. strain CF600 dmp operon for phenol catabolism and was found to be coregulated by the tou operon activator TouR. A hypothesis about the evolution of the toluene and o-xylene catabolic pathway in P. stutzeri OX1 is discussed.
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