Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.103, No.19, 8229-8239, 2019
Solimonas fluminis has an active latex-clearing protein
The utilization of rubber (poly (cis-1,4-isoprene)) by rubber-degrading bacteria depends on the synthesis of rubber oxygenases that cleave the polymer extracellularly to low molecular weight products that can be taken up and used as a carbon source. All so far described Gram-negative rubber-degrading species use two related approximate to 70 kDa rubber oxygenases (RoxA and RoxB) for the primary attack of rubber while all described Gram-positive rubber-degrading strains use RoxA/RoxB-unrelated latex-clearing proteins (Lcps, approximate to 40 kDa) as rubber oxygenase(s). In this study, we identified an lcp orthologue in a Gram-negative species (Solimonas fluminis). We cloned and heterologously expressed the lcp gene of S. fluminis HR-BB, purified the corresponding Lcp protein (Lcp(HR-BB)) from recombinant Escherichia coli, and biochemically characterised the Lcp(HR-BB) activity. Lcp(HR-BB) cleaved polyisoprene to a mixture of C-20 and higher oligoisoprenoids at a specific activity of 1.5 U/mg. Furthermore, spectroscopic investigation identified Lcp(HR-BB) as a b-haem-containing protein with an oxidised, fivefold coordinated (open) haem centre. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report that Gram-negative bacteria can have an active rubber oxygenase of the Lcp type.