Heme-dependent rubber oxygenase RoxA of Xanthomonas sp. cleaves the carbon backbone of poly(cis-1,4-Isoprene) by a dioxygenase mechanism

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2005 May;71(5):2473-8. doi: 10.1128/AEM.71.5.2473-2478.2005.


Oxidative cleavage of poly(cis-1,4-isoprene) by rubber oxygenase RoxA purified from Xanthomonas sp. was investigated in the presence of different combinations of (16)O(2), (18)O(2), H(2)(16)O, and H(2)(18)O. 12-oxo-4,8-dimethyl-trideca-4,8-diene-1-al (ODTD; m/z 236) was the main cleavage product in the absence of (18)O-compounds. Incorporation of one (18)O atom in ODTD was found if the cleavage reaction was performed in the presence of (18)O(2) and H(2)(16)O. Incubation of poly(cis-1,4-isoprene) (with RoxA) or of isolated unlabeled ODTD (without RoxA) with H(2)(18)O in the presence of (16)O(2) indicated that the carbonyl oxygen atoms of ODTD significantly exchanged with oxygen atoms derived from water. The isotope exchange was avoided by simultaneous enzymatic reduction of both carbonyl functions of ODTD to the corresponding dialcohol (12-hydroxy-4,8-dimethyl-trideca-4,8-diene-1-ol (HDTD; m/z 240) during RoxA-mediated in vitro cleavage of poly(cis-1,4-isoprene). In the presence of (18)O(2), H(2)(16)O, and alcohol dehydrogenase/NADH, incorporation of two atoms of (18)O into the reduced metabolite HDTD was found (m/z 244), revealing that RoxA cleaves rubber by a dioxygenase mechanism. Based on the labeling results and the presence of two hemes in RoxA, a model of the enzymatic cleavage mechanism of poly(cis-1,4-isoprene) is proposed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dioxygenases / physiology*
  • Heme / physiology*
  • Hemiterpenes
  • Latex
  • Oxygen Isotopes / pharmacology
  • Polyethylenes / metabolism*
  • Rubber / metabolism*
  • Xanthomonas / enzymology*


  • Hemiterpenes
  • Latex
  • Oxygen Isotopes
  • Polyethylenes
  • Heme
  • 1,4-polyisoprene
  • Rubber
  • Dioxygenases