Degradation and assimilation of aromatic compounds by Corynebacterium glutamicum: another potential for applications for this bacterium?

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2012 Jul;95(1):77-89. doi: 10.1007/s00253-012-4139-4. Epub 2012 May 17.


With the implementation of the well-established molecular tools and systems biology techniques, new knowledge on aromatic degradation and assimilation by Corynebacterium glutamicum has been emerging. This review summarizes recent findings on degradation of aromatic compounds by C. glutamicum. Among these findings, the mycothiol-dependent gentisate pathway was firstly discovered in C. glutamicum. Other important knowledge derived from C. glutamicum would be the discovery of linkages among aromatic degradation and primary metabolisms such as gluconeogenesis and central carbon metabolism. Various transporters in C. glutamicum have also been identified, and they play an essential role in microbial assimilation of aromatic compounds. Regulation on aromatic degradation occurs mainly at transcription level via pathway-specific regulators, but global regulator(s) is presumably involved in the regulation. It is concluded that C. glutamicum is a very useful model organism to disclose new knowledge of biochemistry, physiology, and genetics of the catabolism of aromatic compounds in high GC content Gram-positive bacteria, and that the new physiological properties of aromatic degradation and assimilation are potentially important for industrial applications of C. glutamicum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Biotechnology / methods
  • Corynebacterium glutamicum / genetics
  • Corynebacterium glutamicum / metabolism*
  • Corynebacterium glutamicum / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Gentisates / chemistry
  • Gentisates / metabolism
  • Hydrocarbons, Aromatic / chemistry
  • Hydrocarbons, Aromatic / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Gentisates
  • Hydrocarbons, Aromatic