Microbial degradation of lignin and its related aromatic compounds has great potential for the sustainable production of chemicals and bioremediation of contaminated soils. We previously isolated Pseudomonas sp. strain 9.1 from historical waste deposits (forming so-called fiber banks) released from pulp and paper mills along the Baltic Sea coast. The strain accumulated vanillyl alcohol during growth on vanillin, and while reported in other microbes, this phenotype is less common in wild-type pseudomonads. As the reduction of vanillin to vanil- lyl alcohol is an undesired trait in Pseudomonas strains engineered to accumulate vanillin, connecting the strain 9.1 phenotype with a genotype would increase the fundamental understanding and genetic engineering potential of microbial vanillin metabolism. The genome of Pseudomonas sp. 9.1 was sequenced and assembled. Annotation identified oxidoreductases with homology to Saccharomyces cerevisiae alcohol dehydrogenase ScADH6p, known to reduce vanillin to vanillyl alcohol, in both the 9.1 genome and the model strain Pseudomonas putida KT2440. Recombinant expression of the Pseudomonas sp. 9.1 FEZ21_09870 and P. putida KT2440 PP_2426 (calA) genes in Escherichia coli revealed that these open reading frames encode aldehyde reductases that convert vanillin to vanillyl alcohol, and that P. putida KT2440 PP_3839 encodes a coniferyl alcohol dehydrogenase that oxidizes coniferyl alcohol to coniferyl aldehyde (i.e., the function previ-ously assigned to calA). The deletion of PP_2426 in P. putida GN442 engineered to accumulate vanillin resulted in a decrease in by-product (vanillyl alcohol) yield from 17% to -1%. Based on these results, we propose the reannotation of PP_2426 and FEZ21_09870 as areA and PP_3839 as calA-II. IMPORTANCE Valorization of lignocellulose (nonedible plant matter) is of key interest for the sustainable production of chemicals from renewable resources. Lignin, one of the main constituents of lignocellulose, is a heterogeneous aromatic biopolymer that can be chemically depolymerized into a heterogeneous mixture of aromatic building blocks; those can be further converted by certain microbes into value-added aromatic chemicals, e.g., the flavoring agent vanillin. We previously isolated a Pseudomonas sp. strain with the (for the genus) unusual trait of vanil- lyl alcohol production during growth on vanillin. Whole-genome sequencing of the isolate led to the identification of a vanillin reductase candidate gene whose deletion in a recombinant vanillin-accumulating P. putida strain almost completely alleviated the undesired vanillyl alcohol by-product yield. These results represent an important step toward biotechnological production of vanillin from lignin using bacterial cell factories.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
- de novo assembly
- Gene reannotation
- NAD(P)H-dependent oxidoreductases
- Vanillyl alcohol