Image_6_Desulfatiglans anilini Initiates Degradation of Aniline With the Production of Phenylphosphoamidate and 4-Aminobenzoate as Intermediates Through Synthases and Carboxylases From Different Gene Clusters.TIF
The anaerobic degradation of aniline was studied in the sulfate-reducing bacterium Desulfatiglans anilini. Our aim was to identify the genes and their proteins that are required for the initial activation of aniline as well as to characterize intermediates of this reaction. Aniline-induced genes were revealed by comparison of the proteomes of D. anilini grown with different substrates (aniline, 4-aminobenzoate, phenol, and benzoate). Most genes encoding proteins that were highly abundant in aniline- or 4-aminobenzoate-grown D. anilini cells but not in phenol- or benzoate-grown cells were located in the putative gene clusters ani (aniline degradation), hcr (4-hydroxybenzoyl-CoA reductase) and phe (phenol degradation). Of these putative gene clusters, only the phe gene cluster has been studied previously. Based on the differential proteome analysis, four candidate genes coding for kinase subunits and carboxylase subunits were suspected to be responsible for the initial conversion of aniline to 4-aminobenzoate. These genes were cloned and overproduced in E. coli. The recombinant proteins were obtained in inclusion bodies but could be refolded successfully. Two subunits of phenylphosphoamidate synthase and two carboxylase subunits converted aniline to 4-aminobenzoate with phenylphosphoamidate as intermediate under consumption of ATP. Only when both carboxylase subunits, one from gene cluster ani and the other from gene cluster phe, were combined, phenylphosphoamidate was converted to 4-aminobenzoate in vitro, with Mn2+, K+, and FMN as co-factors. Thus, aniline is degraded by the anaerobic bacterium D. anilini only by recruiting genes for the enzymatic machinery from different gene clusters. We conclude, that D. anilini carboxylates aniline to 4-aminobenzoate via phenylphosphoamidate as an energy rich intermediate analogous to the degradation of phenol to 4-hydroxybenzoate via phenylphosphate.