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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2008 Dec;74(24):7643-53. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01490-08. Epub 2008 Oct 24.

Possible involvement of an extracellular superoxide dismutase (SodA) as a radical scavenger in poly(cis-1,4-isoprene) degradation.

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


Gordonia westfalica Kb1 and Gordonia polyisoprenivorans VH2 induce the formation of an extracellular superoxide dismutase (SOD) during poly(cis-1,4-isoprene) degradation. To investigate the function of this enzyme in G. polyisoprenivorans VH2, the sodA gene was disrupted. The mutants exhibited reduced growth in liquid mineral salt media containing poly(cis-1,4-isoprene) as the sole carbon and energy source, and no SOD activity was detectable in the supernatants of the cultures. Growth experiments revealed that SodA activity is required for optimal growth on poly(cis-1,4-isoprene), whereas this enzyme has no effect on aerobic growth in the presence of water-soluble substrates like succinate, acetate, and propionate. This was detected by activity staining, and proof of expression was by antibody detection of SOD. When SodA from G. westfalica Kb1 was heterologously expressed in the sodA sodB double mutant Escherichia coli QC779, the recombinant mutant exhibited increased resistance to paraquat, thereby indicating the functionality of the G. westfalica Kb1 SodA and indirectly protection of G. westfalica cells by SodA from oxidative damage. Both sodA from G. polyisoprenivorans VH2 and sodA from G. westfalica Kb1 coded for polypeptides comprising 209 amino acids and having approximately 90% and 70% identical amino acids, respectively, to the SodA from Mycobacterium smegmatis strain MC(2) 155 and Micrococcus luteus NCTC 2665. As revealed by activity staining experiments with the wild type and the disruption mutant of G. polyisoprenivorans, this bacterium harbors only one active SOD belonging to the manganese family. The N-terminal sequences of the extracellular SodA proteins of both Gordonia species showed no evidence of leader peptides for the mature proteins, like the intracellular SodA protein of G. polyisoprenivorans VH2, which was purified under native conditions from the cells. In G. westfalica Kb1 and G. polyisoprenivorans VH2, SodA probably provides protection against reactive oxygen intermediates which occur during degradation of poly(cis-1,4-isoprene).

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