Toluene 3-Monooxygenase of Ralstonia pickettii PKO1 Is a para-Hydroxylating Enzyme

Ayelet Fishman, Ying Tao, Thomas K. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Oxygenases are promising biocatalysts for performing selective hydroxylations not accessible by chemical methods. Whereas toluene 4-monooxygenase (T4MO) of Pseudomonas mendocina KR1 hydroxylates monosubstituted benzenes at the para position and toluene ortho-monooxygenase (TOM) of Burkholderia cepacia G4 hydroxylates at the ortho position, toluene 3-monooxygenase (T3MO) of Ralstonia pickettii PKO1 was reported previously to hydroxylate toluene at the meta position, producing primarily m-cresol (R. H. Olsen, J. J. Kukor, and B. Kaphammer, J. Bacteriol. 176:3749-3756, 1994). Using gas chromatography, we have discovered that T3MO hydroxylates monosubstituted benzenes predominantly at thepara position. TG1/pBS(Kan)T3MO cells expressing T3MO oxidized toluene at a maximal rate of 11.5 ± 0.33 nmol/min/mg of protein with an apparent Km value of 250 μM and produced 90% p-cresol and 10% m-cresol. This product mixture was successively transformed to 4-methylcatechol. T4MO, in comparison, produces 97%p-cresol and 3% m-cresol. Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAOI harboring pRO1966 (the original T3MO-bearing plasmid) also exhibited the same product distribution as that of TG1/pBS(Kan)T3MO. TG1/pBS(Kan)T3MO produced 66% p-nitrophenol and 34% m-nitrophenol from nitrobenzene and 100% p-methoxyphenol from methoxybenzene, as well as 62% 1-naphthol and 38% 2-naphthol from naphthalene; similar results were found with TG1/pBS(Kan)T4MO. Sequencing of the tbu locus from pBS(Kan)T3MO and pRO1966 revealed complete identity between the two, thus eliminating any possible cloning errors. 1H nuclear magnetic resonance analysis confirmed the structural identity of p-cresol in samples containing the product of hydroxylation of toluene by pBS(Kan)T3MO.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3117-3123
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Toluene 3-Monooxygenase of Ralstonia pickettii PKO1 Is a para-Hydroxylating Enzyme'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this