Summary: A bacterium capable of growth on 5-hydroxyisophthalate was isolated from soil. Both 4,5-dihydroxyisophthalate and protocatechuate were found in the growth medium and were also oxidized by bacterial extracts. These extracts catalysed the decarboxylation of 4,5-dihydroxyisophthalate to give protocatechuate under anaerobic conditions. Extracts oxidized 5-hydroxyisophthalate only when reduced pyridine nucleotide was present, and did so at a faster rate with NADPH than with NADH. When the decarboxylase was removed by DEAE-cellulose chromatography, 4,5-dihydroxyisophthalate was identified as the product of 5-hydroxyisophthalate oxidation. A pathway for catabolism of 5-hydroxyisophthalate involving hydroxylation to 4,5-dihydroxyisophthalate followed by decarboxylation to protocatechuate, the ring-fission substrate, is proposed. Further oxidation of protocatechuate is by the pathway.


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