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Mar. Drugs 2010, 8(3), 519-541; doi:10.3390/md8030519

Finding New Enzymes from Bacterial Physiology: A Successful Approach Illustrated by the Detection of Novel Oxidases in Marinomonas mediterranea

1,* , 2
1 Department of Genetics and Microbiology, Faculty of Biology, University of Murcia, Campus de Espinardo, Murcia 30100, Spain 2 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology B and Immunology, School of Medicine, University of Murcia, Murcia 30100, Spain
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 February 2010 / Revised: 21 February 2010 / Accepted: 22 February 2010 / Published: 5 March 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Enzymes from the Sea: Sources, Molecular Biology and Bioprocesses)
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The identification and study of marine microorganisms with unique physiological traits can be a very powerful tool discovering novel enzymes of possible biotechnological interest. This approach can complement the enormous amount of data concerning gene diversity in marine environments offered by metagenomic analysis, and can help to place the activities associated with those sequences in the context of microbial cellular metabolism and physiology. Accordingly, the detection and isolation of microorganisms that may be a good source of enzymes is of great importance. Marinomonas mediterranea, for example, has proven to be one such useful microorganism. This Gram-negative marine bacterium was first selected because of the unusually high amounts of melanins synthesized in media containing the amino acid L-tyrosine. The study of its molecular biology has allowed the cloning of several genes encoding oxidases of biotechnological interest, particularly in white and red biotechnology. Characterization of the operon encoding the tyrosinase responsible for melanin synthesis revealed that a second gene in that operon encodes a protein, PpoB2, which is involved in copper transfer to tyrosinase. This finding made PpoB2 the first protein in the COG5486 group to which a physiological role has been assigned. Another enzyme of interest described in M. mediterranea is a multicopper oxidase encoding a membrane-associated enzyme that shows oxidative activity on a wide range of substrates typical of both laccases and tyrosinases. Finally, an enzyme very specific for L-lysine, which oxidises this amino acid in epsilon position and that has received a new EC number (, has also been described for M. mediterranea. Overall, the studies carried out on this bacterium illustrate the power of exploring the physiology of selected microorganisms to discover novel enzymes of biotechnological relevance.
Keywords: Marinomonas; laccase; lysine oxidase; tyrosinase; melanin Marinomonas; laccase; lysine oxidase; tyrosinase; melanin
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Sanchez-Amat, A.; Solano, F.; Lucas-Elío, P. Finding New Enzymes from Bacterial Physiology: A Successful Approach Illustrated by the Detection of Novel Oxidases in Marinomonas mediterranea. Mar. Drugs 2010, 8, 519-541.

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