Reductive dehalogenase gene expression as a biomarker for physiological activity of Dehalococcoides spp. Academic Article uri icon


  • This study characterizes the transcriptional expression of the reductive dehalogenase (RDase)-encoding tceA and vcrA genes and evaluates their applicability as potential biological markers of Dehalococcoides activity. When Dehalococcoides ethenogenes 195 was provided with trichloroethene (TCE) as the electron acceptor, the expression of the tceA gene increased by 90-fold relative to that in cells starved of chlorinated ethenes, demonstrating that tceA gene expression is indicative of the active physiological state of this strain. In a Dehalococcoides-containing enrichment culture that contains both the tceA and vcrA genes, the tceA gene was up-regulated in response to TCE and cis-1,2-dichloroethene (cDCE) exposure, while the vcrA gene was up-regulated in response to TCE, cDCE, and vinyl chloride (VC). When chlorinated ethenes were depleted, the RDase-encoding gene transcripts decayed exponentially, with a half-life between 4.8 and 6.1 h, until they reached a stable background level after 2 days. We found that while gene expression correlated generally to the presence of chlorinated ethenes, there was no apparent direct relationship between RDase-encoding transcript numbers and respective rates of TCE, cDCE, and VC dechlorination activities. However, elevated tceA and vcrA expression did correlate with chlorinated-ethene reduction beyond cDCE, suggesting that elevated RDase-encoding transcript numbers could serve as a biomarker for the physiological ability of Dehalococcoides spp. to dechlorinate beyond cDCE.

published proceedings

  • Appl Environ Microbiol

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Lee, P., Johnson, D. R., Holmes, V. F., He, J., & Alvarez-Cohen, L.

citation count

  • 98

complete list of authors

  • Lee, Patrick KH||Johnson, David R||Holmes, Victor F||He, Jianzhong||Alvarez-Cohen, Lisa

publication date

  • September 2006