Steroid degradation in Comamonas testosteroni

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2012 Mar;129(1-2):4-14. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2010.10.008. Epub 2010 Nov 5.


Steroid degradation by Comamonas testosteroni and Nocardia restrictus have been intensively studied for the purpose of obtaining materials for steroid drug synthesis. C. testosteroni degrades side chains and converts single/double bonds of certain steroid compounds to produce androsta-1,4-diene 3,17-dione or the derivative. Following 9α-hydroxylation leads to aromatization of the A-ring accompanied by cleavage of the B-ring, and aromatized A-ring is hydroxylated at C-4 position, cleaved at Δ4 by meta-cleavage, and divided into 2-hydroxyhexa-2,4-dienoic acid (A-ring) and 9,17-dioxo-1,2,3,4,10,19-hexanorandrostan-5-oic acid (B,C,D-ring) by hydrolysis. Reactions and the genes involved in the cleavage and the following degradation of the A-ring are similar to those for bacterial biphenyl degradation, and 9,17-dioxo-1,2,3,4,10,19-hexanorandrostan-5-oic acid degradation is suggested to be mainly β-oxidation. Genes involved in A-ring aromatization and degradation form a gene cluster, and the genes involved in β-oxidation of 9,17-dioxo-1,2,3,4,10,19-hexanorandrostan-5-oic acid also comprise a large cluster of more than 10 genes. The DNA region between these two main steroid degradation gene clusters contain 3α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase gene, Δ5,3-ketosteroid isomerase gene, genes for inversion of an α-oriented-hydroxyl group to a β-oriented-hydroxyl group at C-12 position of cholic acid, and genes possibly involved in the degradation of a side chain at C-17 position of cholic acid, indicating this DNA region of more than 100kb to be a steroid degradation gene hot spot of C. testosteroni. Article from a special issue on steroids and microorganisms.

MeSH terms

  • Comamonas testosteroni / genetics
  • Comamonas testosteroni / metabolism*
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases / metabolism
  • Ketosteroids / metabolism
  • Multigene Family
  • Steroid Isomerases / metabolism
  • Steroids / metabolism*


  • Ketosteroids
  • Steroids
  • Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases
  • Steroid Isomerases