Distribution of alkB genes within n-alkane-degrading bacteria

J Appl Microbiol. 2000 Aug;89(2):339-48. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2672.2000.01121.x.


Fifty-four bacterial strains belonging to 37 species were tested for their ability to assimilate short chain and/or medium chain liquid n-alkanes. A gene probe derived from the alkB gene of Pseudomonas oleovorans ATCC 29347 was utilized in hybridization experiments. Results of Southern hybridization of PCR-amplificates were compared with those of colony hybridization and dot blot hybridization. Strongest signals were received only from Gram-negative bacteria growing solely with short n-alkanes (C10). Hybridization results with soil isolates growing with n-alkanes of different chain lengths suggested as well that alkB genes seem to be widespread only in solely short-chain n-alkane-degrading pseudomonads. PCR products of Rhodococcus sp., Nocardioides sp., Gordona sp. and Sphingomonas sp. growing additionally or solely with medium-chain n-alkane as hexadecane had only few sequence identity with alkB though hybridizing with the gene probe. The derived amino acid sequence of the alkB-amplificate of Pseudomonas aureofaciens showed high homology (95%) with AlkB from Ps. oleovorans. alkB gene disruptants were not able to grow with decane.

MeSH terms

  • Alkanes / metabolism*
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Culture Media
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP4A
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / genetics*
  • DNA Probes
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / enzymology*
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / genetics
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / growth & development
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / enzymology*
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / genetics
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / growth & development
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization / methods
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • Alkanes
  • Culture Media
  • DNA Probes
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP4A
  • n-hexadecane
  • decane

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AJ250560