Agrobacterium tumefaciens S33 is able to degrade nicotine via a novel hybrid of the pyridine and pyrrolidine pathways. It can be utilized to remove nicotine from tobacco wastes and transform nicotine into important functionalized pyridine precursors for some valuable drugs and insecticides. However, the molecular mechanism of the hybrid pathway is still not completely clear. Here we report the genome analysis of strain S33 and its transcriptomes grown in glucose-ammonium medium and nicotine medium. The complete gene cluster involved in nicotine catabolism was found to be located on a genomic island composed of genes functionally similar but not in sequences to those of the pyridine and pyrrolidine pathways, as well as genes encoding plasmid partitioning and replication initiation proteins, conjugal transfer proteins and transposases. This suggests that the evolution of this hybrid pathway is not a simple fusion of the genes involved in the two pathways, but the result of a complicated lateral gene transfer. In addition, other genes potentially involved in the hybrid pathway could include those responsible for substrate sensing and transport, transcription regulation and electron transfer during nicotine degradation. This study provides new insights into the molecular mechanism of the novel hybrid pathway for nicotine degradation.
Journal: Scientific reports