Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 19, pp 8229–8239 | Cite as

Solimonas fluminis has an active latex-clearing protein

  • Jakob Birke
  • Dieter JendrossekEmail author
Environmental biotechnology


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 ≈ 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, ≈ 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 (LcpHR-BB) from recombinant Escherichia coli, and biochemically characterised the LcpHR-BB activity. LcpHR-BB cleaved polyisoprene to a mixture of C20 and higher oligoisoprenoids at a specific activity of 1.5 U/mg. Furthermore, spectroscopic investigation identified LcpHR-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.


Rubber oxygenase Latex-clearing protein Polyisoprene Biodegradation Haem dioxygenase 



We thank the Weber and Schaer Company (Hamburg) for providing polyisoprene.

Funding information

This work was supported by a grant of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft to D. J.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethic approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of MicrobiologyUniversity of StuttgartStuttgartGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Applied BiotechnologyUniversity of Applied Sciences BiberachBiberachGermany

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