sp. strain IC is able to grow on biphenyl, 3-methylbiphenyl and 4-methylbiphenyl. These are converted to benzoate and the corresponding methylbenzoates. The lower pathway genes for the catabolism of the benzoates were cloned on a 22 kb dIII fragment. Hybridization with gene-specific probes from the pathways of other catabolic plasmids showed that the gene order was identical to that of the operons carrying the same function from TOL plasmids. The nucleotide sequence of a 1241 bp region carrying the whole of the gene (for a catechol 2,3-dioxygenase) and the 5′ end of the downstream gene (for 2-hydroxy semialdehyde dehydrogenase) was determined. Both genes showed a high degree of homology with genes encoding isofunctional proteins from other strains. The upper pathway genes for the conversion of biphenyl to benzoate have also been cloned but no linkage with the lower pathway operon has been detected. strain IC contains a large plasmid pWW110 (> 200 kb) and there are indications that this plasmid carries the genes.


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