The genes encoding flavin mononucleotide-containing oxidoreductases, designated xenobiotic reductases, from Pseudomonas putida II-B and P. fluorescens I-C that removed nitrite from nitroglycerin (NG) by cleavage of the nitroester bond were cloned, sequenced, and characterized. The P. putida gene, xenA, encodes a 39,702-Da monomeric, NAD(P)H-dependent flavoprotein that removes either the terminal or central nitro groups from NG and that reduces 2-cyclohexen-1-one but did not readily reduce 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT). The P. fluorescens gene, xenB, encodes a 37,441-Da monomeric, NAD(P)H-dependent flavoprotein that exhibits fivefold regioselectivity for removal of the central nitro group from NG and that transforms TNT but did not readily react with 2-cyclohexen-1-one. Heterologous expression of xenA and xenB was demonstrated in Escherichia coli DH5alpha. The transcription initiation sites of both xenA and xenB were identified by primer extension analysis. BLAST analyses conducted with the P. putida xenA and the P. fluorescens xenB sequences demonstrated that these genes are similar to several other bacterial genes that encode broad-specificity flavoprotein reductases. The prokaryotic flavoprotein reductases described herein likely shared a common ancestor with old yellow enzyme of yeast, a broad-specificity enzyme which may serve a detoxification role in antioxidant defense systems.
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