Táncsics, A., Szoboszlay, S., Kriszt, B., Kukolya, J., Baka, E., Márialigeti, K., Révész, S. 2008. Applicability of the functional gene catechol 1,2-dioxygenase as a biomarker in the detection of BTEX-degrading Rhodococcus species. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 105, 1026-1033.

Aims: Catechol 1,2-dioxygenase is a key enzyme in the degradation of monoaromatic pollutants. The detection of this gene is in focus today but recently designed degenerate primers are not always suitable. Rhodococcus species are important members of the bacterial community involved in the degradation of aromatic contaminants and their specific detection could help assess functions and activities in the contaminated environments. To reach this aim, specific PCR primer sets were designed for the detection of Rhodococcus related catechol 1,2-dioxygenase genes.
Methods and Results: Primers were tested with genetically well-characterized strains isolated in this study and community DNA samples were used as template for Rhodococcus specific PCR as well. The sequences of the catabolic gene in question were subjected to multiple alignment and a phylogenetic tree was created and compared to a 16S rRNA gene based Rhodococcus tree. A strong coherence was observed between the phylogenetic trees.
Conclusions: The results strongly support the opinion that there was no recent lateral gene transfer among Rhodococcus species in the case of catechol 1,2-dioxygenase.
Significance and Impact of the Study: In gasoline contaminated environments, aromatic hydrocarbon degrading Rhodococcus populations can be identified based upon the detection and sequence analysis of catechol 1,2-dioxygenase gene.


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