New Paper out now in FEMS Microbiology Ecology

May 1, 2024 / Dr. Ilka Schwittlinsky

A new paper on how the “Genetic redundancy in the naphthalene-degradation pathway of Cycloclasticus pugetii strain PS-1 enables response to varying substrate concentrations” by Anjela Vogel, a former PhD student in our group, Katharine Thompson and Sara Kleindienst has just been published in FEMS Microbiology Ecology.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contamination in marine environments range from low-diffusive inputs to high loads. The influence of PAH concentration on the expression of functional genes [e.g. those encoding ring-hydroxylating dioxygenases (RHDs)] has been overlooked in PAH biodegradation studies. However, understanding marker-gene expression under different PAH loads can help to monitor and predict bioremediation efficiency. Here, we followed the expression (via RNA sequencing) of Cycloclasticus pugetii strain PS-1 in cell suspension experiments under different naphthalene (100 and 30 mg L−1) concentrations. We identified genes encoding previously uncharacterized RHD subunits, termed rhdPS1α and rhdPS1β, that were highly transcribed in response to naphthalene-degradation activity. Additionally, we identified six RHD subunit-encoding genes that responded to naphthalene exposure. By contrast, four RHD subunit genes were PAH-independently expressed and three other RHD subunit genes responded to naphthalene starvation. Cycloclasticus spp. could, therefore, use genetic redundancy in key PAH-degradation genes to react to varying PAH loads. This genetic redundancy may restrict the monitoring of environmental hydrocarbon-degradation activity using single-gene expression. For Cycloclasticus pugetii strain PS-1, however, the newly identified rhdPS1α and rhdPS1β genes might be potential target genes to monitor its environmental naphthalene-degradation activity.


A.L. Vogel, K.J. Thompson, D. Straub, F. Musat, T. Gutierrez, S. Kleindienst (2024). Genetic redundancy in the naphthalene-degradation pathway of Cycloclasticus pugetii strain PS-1 enables response to varying substrate concentrations. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, fiae060

Read the complete paper here

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