Transformation of 2,4,6-Trinitrotoluene by Pseudomonas pseudoalcaligenes JS52

Appl Environ Microbiol. 1997 May;63(5):2007-15. doi: 10.1128/aem.63.5.2007-2015.1997.


Pseudomonas pseudoalcaligenes JS52 grows on nitrobenzene via partial reduction of the nitro group and enzymatic rearrangement of the resultant hydroxylamine. Cells and cell extracts of nitrobenzene-grown JS52 catalyzed the transient formation of 4-hydroxylamino-2,6-dinitrotoluene (4HADNT), 4-amino-2,6-dinitrotoluene (4ADNT), and four previously unidentified metabolites from 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT). Two of the novel metabolites were identified by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry and (sup1)H-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy as 2,4-dihydroxylamino-6-nitrotoluene (DHANT) and 2-hydroxylamino-4-amino-6-nitrotoluene (2HA4ANT). A polar yellow metabolite also accumulated during transformation of TNT by cells and cell extracts. Under anaerobic conditions, extracts of strain JS52 did not catalyze the production of the yellow metabolite or release nitrite from TNT; moreover, DHANT and 2HA4ANT accumulated under anaerobic conditions, which indicated that their further metabolism was oxygen dependent. Small amounts of nitrite were released during transformation of TNT by strain JS52. Sustained transformation of TNT by cells required nitrobenzene, which indicated that TNT transformation does not provide energy. Transformation of TNT catalyzed by enzymes in cell extracts required NADPH. Transformation experiments with (sup14)C-TNT indicated that TNT was not mineralized; however, carbon derived from TNT became associated with cells. Nitrobenzene nitroreductase purified from strain JS52 transformed TNT to DHANT via 4HADNT, which indicated that the nitroreductase could catalyze the first two steps in the transformation of TNT. The unusual ability of the nitrobenzene nitroreductase to catalyze the stoichiometric reduction of aromatic nitro compounds to the corresponding hydroxylamine provides the basis for the novel pathway for metabolism of TNT.