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Extracellular heme peroxidases in actinomycetes: a case of mistaken identity

Mason, M.G., Ball, A.S., Reeder, B.J., Silkstone, G., Nicholls, P., Wilson, M.T.
Applied and environmental microbiology 2001 v.67 no.10 pp. 4512-4519
secretion, Thermomonospora, heme, peroxidases, Thermobifida fusca, Streptomyces viridosporus, enzyme activity
Actinomycetes secrete into their surroundings a suite of enzymes involved in the biodegradation of plant lignocellulose; these have been reported to include both hydrolytic and oxidative enzymes, including peroxidases. Reports of secreted peroxidases have been based upon observations of peroxidase-like activity associated with fractions that exhibit optical spectra reminiscent of heme peroxidases, such as the lignin peroxidases of wood-rotting fungi. Here we show that the appearance of the secreted pseudoperoxidase of the thermophilic actinomycete Thermomonospora fusca BD25 is also associated with the appearance of a heme-like spectrum. The species responsible for this spectrum is a metalloporphyrin; however, we show that this metalloporphyrin is not heme but zinc coproporphyrin. The same porphyrin was found in the growth medium of the actinomycete Streptomyces viridosporus T7A. We therefore propose that earlier reports of heme peroxidases secreted by actinomycetes were due to the incorrect assignment of optical spectra to heme groups rather than to noniron-containing porphyrins and that lignin-degrading heme peroxidases are not secreted by actinomycetes. The porphyrin, an excretory product, is degraded during peroxidase assays. The low levels of secreted peroxidase activity are associated with a nonheme protein fraction previously shown to contain copper. We suggest that the role of the secreted copper-containing protein may be to bind and detoxify metals that can cause inhibition of heme biosynthesis and thus stimulate porphyrin excretion.