Caister Academic Press

A Genomic View on the Evolution of Catabolic Pathways and Bacterial Adaptation to Xenobiotic Compounds

J.R. van der Meer
from: Microbial Biodegradation: Genomics and Molecular Biology (Edited by: Eduardo Díaz). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2008)


Bacteria adapt and become quite rapidly selected to xenobiotic compounds introduced into the environment, mainly via the usage of the compound as carbon, energy or nitrogen source. Important examples include chlorobenzenes, the herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, chloroalkanes, lindane, atrazine and nitroaromatic compounds. At the genomic level, such bacteria show evidence for genetic rearrangements mediated by transposable elements or general recombination, the result being most often an expansion of existing catabolic properties with additional gene modules from outside sources. DNA from outside sources appears to have been trapped and mobilized via conjugative plasmids and genomic islands. Genomic evidence further shows that most bacterial genomes contain considerable numbers of insertion elements, integrases, prophages and/or plasmids, which in general can contribute to their adaptation capacities read more ...
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