Metabolism of Aldoximes and Nitriles in Plant-Associated Bacteria and Its Potential in Plant–Bacteria Interactions

Robert Rädisch, Miroslav Pátek, Barbora Křístková, Margit Winkler, Vladimír Křen, Ludmila Martínková*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In plants, aldoximes per se act as defense compounds and are precursors of complex defense compounds such as cyanogenic glucosides and glucosinolates. Bacteria rarely produce aldoximes, but some are able to transform them by aldoxime dehydratase (Oxd), followed by nitrilase (NLase) or nitrile hydratase (NHase) catalyzed transformations. Oxds are often encoded together with NLases or NHases in a single operon, forming the aldoxime–nitrile pathway. Previous reviews have largely focused on the use of Oxds and NLases or NHases in organic synthesis. In contrast, the focus of this review is on the contribution of these enzymes to plant-bacteria interactions. Therefore, we summarize the substrate specificities of the enzymes for plant compounds. We also analyze the taxonomic and ecological distribution of the enzymes. In addition, we discuss their importance in selected plant symbionts. The data show that Oxds, NLases, and NHases are abundant in Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria. The enzymes seem to be important for breaking through plant defenses and utilizing oximes or nitriles as nutrients. They may also contribute, e.g., to the synthesis of the phytohormone indole-3-acetic acid. We conclude that the bacterial and plant metabolism of aldoximes and nitriles may interfere in several ways. However, further in vitro and in vivo studies are needed to better understand this underexplored aspect of plant–bacteria interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number549
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Aldoxime dehydratase
  • Aldoxime-nitrile pathway
  • Indole-3-acetic acid
  • Nitrilase
  • Nitrile hydratase
  • Phytohormone
  • Plant aldoxime
  • Plant defense
  • Plant-bacteria interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Virology


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