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Background: The strictly anaerobic, sulfate-reducing bacterium Desulfococcus biacutus can utilize acetone as sole carbon and energy source for growth. Whereas in aerobic and nitrate-reducing bacteria acetone is activated by carboxylation with CO2 to acetoacetate, D. biacutus involves CO as a cosubstrate for acetone activation through a different, so far unknown pathway. Proteomic studies indicated that, among others, a predicted medium-chain dehydrogenase/reductase (MDR) superfamily, zinc-dependent alcohol dehydrogenase (locus tag DebiaDRAFT-04514) is specifically and highly produced during growth with acetone. Results: The MDR gene DebiaDRAFT-04514 was cloned and overexpressed in E. coli. The purified recombinant protein required zinc as cofactor, and accepted NADH/NAD+ but not NADPH/NADP+ as electron donor/acceptor. The pH optimum was at pH 8, and the temperature optimum at 45 °C. Highest specific activities were observed for reduction of C3 - C5-aldehydes with NADH, such as propanal to propanol (380 ± 15 mU mg-1 protein), butanal to butanol (300 ± 24 mU mg-1), and 3-hydroxybutanal to 1,3-butanediol (248 ± 60 mU mg-1), however, the enzyme also oxidized 3-hydroxybutanal with NAD+ to acetoacetaldehyde (83 ± 18 mU mg-1). Conclusion: The enzyme might play a key role in acetone degradation by D. biacutus, for example as a bifunctional 3-hydroxybutanal dehydrogenase/reductase. Its recombinant production may represent an important step in the elucidation of the complete degradation pathway.
Frey, J., Rusche, H., Schink, B., & Schleheck, D. (2016). Cloning, functional expression and characterization of a bifunctional 3-hydroxybutanal dehydrogenase /reductase involved in acetone metabolism by Desulfococcus biacutus. BMC Microbiology, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12866-016-0899-9