Cloning of the organophosphorus pesticide hydrolase gene clusters of seven degradative bacteria isolated from a methyl parathion contaminated site and evidence of their horizontal gene transfer

Biodegradation. 2006 Oct;17(5):465-72. doi: 10.1007/s10532-005-9018-6. Epub 2006 Feb 14.


Seven organophosphorus pesticide-degrading bacteria harboring the methyl parathion degrading (mpd) gene were isolated from a methyl parathion contaminated site. In this study, the 4.7 kb mpd gene cluster, conserved in all seven bacteria capable of degrading methyl parathion, was cloned and further analysis revealed that this cluster contained five ORFs and the mpd gene was associated with a mobile element, IS6100. In addition to mpd gene ORF and tnpA ORF, three other ORFs showed high homology to the permease component of ABC-type transport system, the general secretion pathway protein B, and the RNA polymerase sigma 70 factor, respectively. The mpd genes of these 7 strains were subcloned and expressed in E. coli, SDS-PAGE and zymogram analysis showed that two expression products of mpd genes in E. coli were found, but the one without signal peptide showed the hydrolytic activities. Our evidences collectively suggest that mpd gene cluster may be disseminated through horizontal gene transfer based on phylogenetic analysis of the cluster and their host bacterial strains, and comparisons of GC content of the cluster and respective host's chromosome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aryldialkylphosphatase / genetics*
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Environmental Pollution
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Gene Transfer, Horizontal*
  • Genes, Bacterial*
  • Gram-Negative Aerobic Rods and Cocci / enzymology*
  • Gram-Negative Aerobic Rods and Cocci / genetics
  • Gram-Negative Aerobic Rods and Cocci / isolation & purification
  • Methyl Parathion / metabolism*
  • Multigene Family
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Pesticides / metabolism*


  • Pesticides
  • Methyl Parathion
  • Aryldialkylphosphatase