s41598-021-85282-7.pdf (1.72 MB)

The complete genome sequence of the nitrile biocatalyst Rhodococcus rhodochrous ATCC BAA-870

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posted on 2023-05-04, 10:30 authored by Joni Frederick, Fritha Hennessy, Uli Horn, Pilar de la Torre Cortés, Marcel van den Broek, Ulrich Strych, Richard Willson, Charles HeferCharles Hefer, Jean-Marc Daran, Trevor Sewell, Linda Otten, Dean Brady
Background: Rhodococci are industrially important soil-dwelling Gram-positive bacteria that are well known for both nitrile hydrolysis and oxidative metabolism of aromatics. Rhodococcus rhodochrous ATCC BAA-870 is capable of metabolising a wide range of aliphatic and aromatic nitriles and amides. The genome of the organism was sequenced and analysed in order to better understand this whole cell biocatalyst. Results: The genome of R. rhodochrous ATCC BAA-870 is the first Rhodococcus genome fully sequenced using Nanopore sequencing. The circular genome contains 5.9 megabase pairs (Mbp) and includes a 0.53 Mbp linear plasmid, that together encode 7548 predicted protein sequences according to BASys annotation, and 5535 predicted protein sequences according to RAST annotation. The genome contains numerous oxidoreductases, 15 identified antibiotic and secondary metabolite gene clusters, several terpene and nonribosomal peptide synthetase clusters, as well as 6 putative clusters of unknown type. The 0.53 Mbp plasmid encodes 677 predicted genes and contains the nitrile converting gene cluster, including a nitrilase, a low molecular weight nitrile hydratase, and an enantioselective amidase. Although there are fewer biotechnologically relevant enzymes compared to those found in rhodococci with larger genomes, such as the well-known Rhodococcus jostii RHA1, the abundance of transporters in combination with the myriad of enzymes found in strain BAA-870 might make it more suitable for use in industrially relevant processes than other rhodococci. Conclusions: The sequence and comprehensive description of the R. rhodochrous ATCC BAA-870 genome will facilitate the additional exploitation of rhodococci for biotechnological applications, as well as enable further characterisation of this model organism. The genome encodes a wide range of enzymes, many with unknown substrate specificities supporting potential applications in biotechnology, including nitrilases, nitrile hydratase, monooxygenases, cytochrome P450s, reductases, proteases, lipases, and transaminases.


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© The Author(s). 2019 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.


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Springer Nature

Journal title

BMC Genomics




Frederick, J., Hennessy, F., Horn, U., de la Torre Cortés, P., van den Broek, M., Strych, U., … Brady, D. (2020). The complete genome sequence of the nitrile biocatalyst Rhodococcus rhodochrous ATCC BAA-870. BMC Genomics, 3, 21. doi:10.1186/s12864-019-6405-7

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