Dibenzothiophene desulfurization capability and evolutionary divergence of newly isolated bacteria
Sulfur can be removed from benzothiophene (BT) by some bacteria without breaking carbon-carbon bonds. However, a clear mechanism for BT desulfurization and its genetic components have not been reported in literatures so far. In this study, we used comparative transcriptomics to study differential expression of genes in Gordonia terrae C-6 cultured with BT or sodium sulfate as the sole source of sulfur. We found that 135 genes were up-regulated with BT relative to sodium sulfate as the sole sulfur source. Many of these genes encode flavin-dependent monooxygenases, alkane sulfonate monooxygenases and desulfinase, which perform similar functions to those involved in the 4S pathway of dibenzothiophene (DBT) biodesulfurization. Three of the genes were found to be located in the same operon, designated bdsABC. Cell extracts of pET28a-bdsABC transfected E. coli Rosetta (DE3) converted BT to a phenolic compound, identified as o-hydroxystyrene. These results advance our understanding of enzymes involved in the BT biodesulfurization pathway.