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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Metabolism of the aliphatic nitramine 4-nitro-2,4-diazabutanal by Methylobacterium sp. strain JS178.

The aliphatic nitramine 4-nitro-2,4-diazabutanal (NDAB; C2H5N3O3) is a ring cleavage metabolite that accumulates during the aerobic degradation of the energetic compound hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) by various Rhodococcus spp. NDAB is also produced during the alkaline hydrolysis of either RDX or octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine (HMX) and during the photolysis of RDX. Traces of NDAB were observed in a soil sampled from an ammunition-manufacturing facility contaminated with both HMX and RDX, suggesting natural attenuation. In this study, we report the isolation of a soil bacterium that is able to degrade NDAB under aerobic conditions. The isolate is a pink-pigmented facultative methylotroph affiliated with the genus Methylobacterium. The strain, named Methylobacterium sp. strain JS178, degrades NDAB as a sole nitrogen source, with concomitant growth and formation of 1 molar equivalent of nitrous oxide (N2O). Comparison of the growth yield of strain JS178 grown on NDAB, nitrite (NO2-), or ammonium (NH4+) as a nitrogen source revealed that 1 N equivalent is assimilated from each mole of NDAB, which completes the nitrogen mass balance. In radiotracer experiments, strain JS178 mineralized 1 C of the [14C]NDAB produced in situ from [14C]RDX by Rhodococcus sp. strain DN22. Studies on the regulation of NDAB degradation indicated that allantoin, an intermediate in the purine catabolic pathway and a central molecule in the storage and transport of nitrogen in plants, up-regulated the enzyme(s) involved in the degradation of the nitramine. The results reveal the potential for the sequential participation of rhodococci and methylobacteria to effect the complete degradation of RDX.[1]


  1. Metabolism of the aliphatic nitramine 4-nitro-2,4-diazabutanal by Methylobacterium sp. strain JS178. Fournier, D., Trott, S., Hawari, J., Spain, J. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. (2005) [Pubmed]
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