The Journal of biological chemistry

The trans-anethole degradation pathway in an Arthrobacter sp.

PMID 11805095


A bacterial strain (TA13) capable of utilizing t-anethole as the sole carbon source was isolated from soil. The strain was identified as Arthrobacter aurescens based on its 16 S rRNA gene sequence. Key steps of the degradation pathway of t-anethole were identified by the use of t-anethole-blocked mutants and specific inducible enzymatic activities. In addition to t-anethole, strain TA13 is capable of utilizing anisic acid, anisaldehyde, and anisic alcohol as the sole carbon source. t-Anethole-blocked mutants were obtained following mutagenesis and penicillin enrichment. Some of these blocked mutants, accumulated in the presence of t-anethole quantitative amounts of t-anethole-diol, anisic acid, and 4,6-dicarboxy-2-pyrone and traces of anisic alcohol and anisaldehyde. Enzymatic activities induced by t-anethole included: 4-methoxybenzoate O-demethylase, p-hydroxybenzoate 3-hydroxylase, and protocatechuate-4,5-dioxygenase. These findings indicate that t-anethole is metabolized to protocatechuic acid through t-anethole-diol, anisaldehyde, anisic acid, and p-hydroxybenzoic acid. The protocatechuic acid is then cleaved by protocatechuate-4,5-dioxygenase to yield 2-hydroxy-4-carboxy muconate-semialdehyde. Results from inducible uptake ability and enzymatic assays indicate that at least three regulatory units are involved in the t-anethole degradation pathway. These findings provide new routes for environmental friendly production processes of valuable aromatic chemicals via bioconversion of phenylpropenoids.