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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2008 Apr;74(8):2288-97. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02145-07. Epub 2008 Feb 22.

The genomes of the non-clearing-zone-forming and natural-rubber- degrading species Gordonia polyisoprenivorans and Gordonia westfalica harbor genes expressing Lcp activity in Streptomyces strains.

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  • 1Institut für Molekulare Mikrobiologie und Biotechnologie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Corrensstrasse 3, D-48149 Münster, Germany.


The latex-clearing protein (Lcp(K30)) from the rubber-degrading bacterium Streptomyces sp. strain K30 is involved in the cleavage of poly(cis-1,4-isoprene), yielding isoprenoid aldehydes and ketones. Lcp homologues have so far been detected in all investigated clearing-zone-forming rubber-degrading bacteria. Internal degenerated oligonucleotides derived from lcp genes of Streptomyces sp. strain K30 (lcp(K30)), Streptomyces coelicolor strain A3(2), and Nocardia farcinica strains IFM10152 and E1 were applied in PCR to investigate whether lcp homologues occur also in the non-clearing-zone-forming rubber-utilizing bacteria Gordonia polyisoprenivorans strains VH2 and Y2K, Gordonia alkanivorans strain 44187, and Gordonia westfalica strain Kb1, which grow adhesively on rubber. The 1,230- and 1,224-bp lcp-homologous genes from G. polyisoprenivorans strain VH2 (lcp(VH2)) and G. westfalica strain Kb1 (lcp(Kb1)) were obtained after screening genomic libraries by degenerated PCR amplification, and their translational products exhibited 50 and 52% amino acid identity, respectively, to Lcp(K30). Recombinant lcp(VH2) and lcp(Kb1) harboring cells of the non-rubber-degrading Streptomyces lividans strain TK23 were able to form clearing zones and aldehydes on latex overlay-agar plates, thus indicating that lcp(VH2) and lcp(Kb1) encode functionally active proteins. Analysis by gel permeation chromatography demonstrated lower polymer concentrations and molecular weights of the remaining polyisoprenoid molecules after incubation with these recombinant S. lividans strains. Reverse transcription-PCR analysis demonstrated that lcp(VH2) was transcribed in cells of G. polyisoprenivorans strain VH2 cultivated in the presence of poly(cis-1,4-isoprene) but not in the presence of sodium acetate. Anti-Lcp(K30) immunoglobulin Gs, which were raised in this study, were rather specific for Lcp(K30) and did not cross-react with Lcp(VH2) and Lcp(Kb1). A lcp(VH2) disruption mutant was still able to grow with poly(cis-1,4-isoprene) as sole carbon source; therefore, lcp(VH2) seems not to be essential for rubber degradation in G. polyisoprenivorans.

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