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Current opinion in biotechnology

Aerobic degradation of aromatic compounds.


PMID 23122741

Abstract

Our view on the bacterial responses to the aerobic degradation of aromatic compounds has been enriched considerably by the current omic methodologies and systems biology approaches, revealing the participation of intricate metabolic and regulatory networks. New enzymes, transporters, and specific/global regulatory systems have been recently characterized, and reveal that the widespread biodegradation capabilities extend to unexpected substrates such as lignin. A completely different biochemical strategy based on the formation of aryl-CoA epoxide intermediates has been unraveled for aerobic hybrid pathways, such as those involved in benzoate and phenylacetate degradation. Aromatic degradation pathways are also an important source of metabolic exchange factors and, therefore, they play a previously unrecognized biological role in cell-to-cell communication. Beyond the native bacterial biodegradation capabilities, pathway evolution as well as computational and synthetic biology approaches are emerging as powerful tools to design novel strain-specific pathways for degradation of xenobiotic compounds.