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BMC Microbiol. 2016 May 23;16:92. doi: 10.1186/s12866-016-0703-x.

Biochemical and spectroscopic characterization of purified Latex Clearing Protein (Lcp) from newly isolated rubber degrading Rhodococcus rhodochrous strain RPK1 reveals novel properties of Lcp.

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Institute of Microbiology, University of Stuttgart, Allmandring 31, 70569, Stuttgart, Germany.
Prince of Songkla University, Songkla, Thailand.
Institute of Microbiology, University of Stuttgart, Allmandring 31, 70569, Stuttgart, Germany.



Biodegradation of rubber (polyisoprene) is initiated by oxidative cleavage of the polyisoprene backbone and is performed either by an extracellular rubber oxygenase (RoxA) from Gram-negative rubber degrading bacteria or by a latex clearing protein (Lcp) secreted by Gram-positive rubber degrading bacteria. Only little is known on the biochemistry of polyisoprene cleavage by Lcp and on the types and functions of the involved cofactors.


A rubber-degrading bacterium was isolated from the effluent of a rubber-processing factory and was taxonomically identified as a Rhodococcus rhodochrous species. A gene of R. rhodochrous RPK1 that coded for a polyisoprene-cleaving latex clearing protein (lcp Rr ) was identified, cloned, expressed in Escherichia coli and purified. Purified LcpRr had a specific activity of 3.1 U/mg at 30 °C and degraded poly(1,4-cis-isoprene) to a mixture of oligoisoprene molecules with terminal keto and aldehyde groups. The pH optimum of LcpRr was higher (pH 8) than for other rubber-cleaving enzymes (≈ pH 7). UVvis spectroscopic analysis of LcpRr revealed a cytochrome-specific absorption spectrum with an additional feature at long wavelengths that has not been observed for any other rubber-cleaving enzyme. The presence of one b-type haem in LcpRr as a co-factor was confirmed by (i) metal analysis, (ii) solvent extraction, (iii) bipyridyl assay and (iv) detection of haem-b specific m/z values via mass-spectrometry.


Our data point to substantial differences in the active sites of Lcp proteins obtained from different rubber degrading bacteria.


Biodegradation; Dioxygenase; Latex clearing protein (Lcp); Rhodococcus; Rubber oxygenase

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