Characterization of the P-Toluenesulfonate Operon tsaMBCD and tsaR in Comamonas Testosteroni T-2

J Bacteriol. 1997 Feb;179(3):919-27. doi: 10.1128/jb.179.3.919-927.1997.


Comamonas testosteroni T-2 uses a standard, if seldom examined, attack on an aromatic compound and oxygenates the side chain of p-toluenesulfonate (TS) (or p-toluenecarboxylate) to p-sulfobenzoate (or terephthalate) prior to complete oxidation. The expression of the first three catabolic enzymes in the pathway, the TS methyl-monooxygenase system (comprising reductase B and oxygenase M; TsaMB), p-sulfobenzyl alcohol dehydrogenase (TsaC), and p-sulfobenzaldehyde dehydrogenase (TsaD), is coregulated as regulatory unit R1 (H. R. Schlafli Oppenberg, G. Chen, T. Leisinger, and A. M. Cook, Microbiology [Reading] 141:1891-1899, 1995). The components of the oxygenase system were repurified, and the N-terminal amino acid sequences were confirmed and extended. An internal sequence of TsaM was obtained, and the identity of the [2Fe-2S] Rieske center was confirmed by electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy. We purified both dehydrogenases (TsaC and TsaD) and determined their molecular weights and N-terminal amino acid sequences. Oligonucleotides derived from the partial sequences of TsaM were used to identify cloned DNA from strain T-2, and about 6 kb of contiguous cloned DNA was sequenced. Regulatory unit R1 was presumed to represent a four-gene operon (tsaMBCD) which was regulated by the LysR-type regulator, TsaR, encoded by a deduced one-gene transcriptional unit. The genes for the inducible TS transport system were not at this locus. The oxygenase system was confirmed to be a class IA mononuclear iron oxygenase, and class IA can now be seen to have two evolutionary groups, the monooxygenases and the dioxygenases, though the divergence is limited to the oxygenase components. The alcohol dehydrogenase TsaC was confirmed to belong to the short-chain, zinc-independent dehydrogenases, and the aldehyde dehydrogenase TsaD was found to resemble several other aldehyde dehydrogenases. The operon and its putative regulator are compared with units of the TOL plasmid.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / isolation & purification
  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase / isolation & purification
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Proteins*
  • Base Sequence
  • Benzenesulfonates / metabolism*
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Genes, Bacterial*
  • Gram-Negative Aerobic Bacteria / enzymology
  • Gram-Negative Aerobic Bacteria / genetics*
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins / classification
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligonucleotide Probes
  • Operon*
  • Oxygenases / classification
  • Oxygenases / genetics
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Transcription Factors / genetics


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Benzenesulfonates
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins
  • Oligonucleotide Probes
  • Transcription Factors
  • TsaR protein, Comamonas testosteroni
  • 4-sulfobenzyl alcohol dehydrogenase
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase
  • Oxygenases
  • 4-sulfobenzaldehyde dehydrogenase
  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase
  • 4-toluenesulfonic acid

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U32622