Pseudomonas sp. strain CF600 is an efficient degrader of phenol and methylsubstituted phenols. These compounds are degraded by the set of enzymes encoded by the plasmid located dmpoperon. The sequences of all the fifteen structural genes required to encode the nine enzymes of the catabolic pathway have been determined and the corresponding proteins have been purified. In this review the interplay between the genetic analysis and biochemical characterisation of the catabolic pathway is emphasised. The first step in the pathway, the conversion of phenol to catechol, is catalysed by a novel multicomponent phenol hydroxylase. Here we summarise similarities of this enzyme with other multicomponent oxygenases, particularly methane monooxygenase (EC 126.96.36.199). The other enzymes encoded by the operon are those of the well-known meta-cleavage pathway for catechol, and include the recently discovered meta-pathway enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase (acylating) (EC 188.8.131.52). The known properties of these meta-pathway enzymes, and isofunctional enzymes from other aromatic degraders, are summarised. Analysis of the sequences of the pathway proteins, many of which are unique to the meta-pathway, suggests new approaches to the study of these generally little-characterised enzymes. Furthermore, biochemical studies of some of these enzymes suggest that physical associations between meta-pathway enzymes play an important role. In addition to the pathway enzymes, the specific regulator of phenol catabolism, DmpR, and its relationship to the XylR regulator of toluene and xylene catabolism is discussed.
1994. Vol. 5, no 3-4