Mechanism controlling the extended lag period associated with vinyl chloride starvation inNocardioidessp. strain JS614

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The extended lag period associated with vinyl chloride (VC) starvation in VC- and ethene-assimilating Nocardioides sp. strain JS614 was examined. The extended lag periods were variable (3-7 days), only associated with growth on VC or ethene, and were observed in VC- or ethene-grown cultures following 24 h carbon starvation and mid-exponential phase cultures grown on non-alkene carbon sources (e.g. acetate). Alkene monooxygenase (AkMO) and epoxyalkane:coenzyme M transferase (EaCoMT) are the initial enzymes of VC and ethene biodegradation in strain JS614. Reverse-transcription PCR confirmed that the AkMO gene etnC was expressed in response to epoxyethane, a metabolic intermediate of ethene biodegradation. Epoxyethane (0.5 mM) eliminated the extended lag period in both starved and mid-exponential phase cultures, suggesting that epoxyethane accumulation activates AkMO expression in strain JS614. AkMO activity in ethene-grown cultures was not detected after 6.7 h of carbon starvation, while 40% of the initial EaCoMT activity remained after 24 h. Acetate eliminated the extended lag period in starved cultures but not in mid-exponential phase cultures suggesting that acetate reactivates extant AkMO in starved VC- or ethene-grown cultures. The imbalance between AkMO and EaCoMT activities during starvation likely contributes to the extended lag period by delaying epoxide accumulation and subsequent AkMO induction.

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