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Scientific Reports
Vol. 4
, 2014

Diverse alkane hydroxylase genes in microorganisms and environments

Yong Nie, Chang-Qiao Chi, Hui Fang, Jie-Liang Liang, She-Lian Lu, Guo-Li Lai, Yue-Qin Tang & Xiao-Lei Wu

Institute of Engineering (Baotou), College of Engineering, Peking University, Baotou 014030, China.


AlkB and CYP153 are important alkane hydroxylases responsible for aerobic alkane degradation in bioremediation of oil-polluted environments and microbial enhanced oil recovery. Since their distribution in nature is not clear, we made the investigation among thus-far sequenced 3,979 microbial genomes and 137 metagenomes from terrestrial, freshwater, and marine environments. Hundreds of diverse alkB and CYP153 genes including many novel ones were found in bacterial genomes, whereas none were found in archaeal genomes. Moreover, these genes were detected with different distributional patterns in the terrestrial, freshwater, and marine metagenomes. Hints for horizontal gene transfer, gene duplication, and gene fusion were found, which together are likely responsible for diversifying the alkB and CYP153 genes adapt to the ubiquitous distribution of different alkanes in nature. In addition, different distributions of these genes between bacterial genomes and metagenomes suggested the potentially important roles of unknown or less common alkane degraders in nature.


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