2019 Volume 65 Issue 6 Pages 293-300
Nocardia nova SH22a is an actinobacterium capable of degrading the polyisoprenes poly(cis-1,4-isoprene) and poly(trans-1,4-isoprene). Sequencing and annotating the genome of this strain led to the identification of a single gene coding for the key enzyme for the degradation of rubber: the latex clearing protein (Lcp). In this study, we showed that LcpSH22a—contrary to other already characterized rubber cleaving enzymes—is responsible for the initial cleavage of both polyisoprene isomers. For this purpose, lcpSH22a was heterologously expressed in an Escherichia coli strain and purified with a functional His6- or Strep-tag. Applying liquid chromatography electrospray ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC/ESI-ToF-MS) and a spectrophotometric pyridine hemochrome assay, heme b was identified as a cofactor. Furthermore, heme-associated iron was identified using total reflection X-ray fluorescence (TXRF) analysis and inhibition tests. The enzyme's temperature and pH optima at 30°C and 7, respectively, were determined using an oxygen consumption assay. Cleavage of poly(cis-1,4-isoprene) and poly(trans-1,4-isoprene) by the oxygenase was confirmed via detection of carbonyl functional groups containing cleavage products, using Schiff's reagent and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS).