Evolutionary and functional relationships of the dha regulon by genomic context analysis

Marinalva Martins-Pinheiro, Wanessa C. Lima, Huma Asif, Cláudio A. Oller, Carlos F.M. Menck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


3-hydroxypropionaldehyde (3-HPA) and 1,3-propanediol (1,3-PD) are subproducts of glycerol degradation and of economical interest as they are used for polymers synthesis, such as polyesters and polyurethanes. Some few characterized bacterial species (mostly from Firmicutes and Gamma-proteobacteria groups) are able to catabolize these monomers from glycerol using the gene products from the dha regulon. To expand our knowledge and direct further experimental studies on the regulon and related genes for the anaerobic glycerol metabolism, an extensive genomic screening was performed to identify the presence of the dha genes in fully sequenced prokaryotic genomes. Interestingly, this work shows that although only few bacteria species are known to produce 3-HPA or 1,3-PD, the incomplete regulon is found in more than 100 prokaryotic genomes. However, the complete pathway is found only in a few dozen species belonging to five different taxonomic groups, including one Archaea species, Halalkalicoccusjeotgali. Phylogenetic analysis and conservation of both gene synteny and primary sequence similarity reinforce the idea that these genes have a common origin and were possibly acquired by lateral gene transfer (LGT). Besides the evolutionary aspect, the identification of homologs from several different organisms may predict potential alternative targets for faster or more efficient biological synthesis of 3-HPA or 1,3-PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere150772
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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