Cometabolic degradation plays a prominent role in bioremediation of commingled groundwater contamination (e.g., chlorinated solvents and the solvent stabilizer 1,4-dioxane [dioxane]). In this study, we untangled the diversity and catalytic functions of multicomponent monooxygenases in Azoarcus sp. strain DD4, a Gram-negative propanotroph that is effective in degrading dioxane and 1,1-dichloroethylene (1,1-DCE). Using a combination of knockout mutagenesis and heterologous expression, a toluene monooxygenase (MO) encoded by the tmoABCDEF gene cluster was unequivocally proved to be the key enzyme responsible for the cometabolism of both dioxane and 1,1-DCE. Interestingly, in addition to utilizing toluene as a primary substrate, this toluene MO can also oxidize propane into 1-propanol. Expression of this toluene MO in DD4 appears inducible by both substrates (toluene and propane) and their primary hydroxylation products (m-cresol, p-cresol, and 1-propanol). These findings coherently explain why DD4 can grow on propane and express toluene MO for active cooxidation of dioxane and 1,1-DCE. Furthermore, upregulation of tmo transcription by 1-propanol underlines the implication potential of using 1-propanol as an alternative auxiliary substrate for DD4 bioaugmentation. The discovery of this toluene MO in DD4 and its degradation and induction versatility can lead to broad applications, spanning from environmental remediation and water treatment to biocatalysis in green chemistry.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- Aliphatic chlorinated hydrocarbons
- Cometabolic degradation
- Toluene monooxygenase