Laccases from Actinobacteria—What We Have and What to Expect


Laccases are blue multicopper enzymes, capable of oxidizing diverse aromatic and non-aromatic compounds of industrial interest, concomitantly with reduction of molecular oxygen to water. Tolerance to extreme conditions, such as high temperature, salinity or extreme pH, is required for practical industrial applications. Here we focus on bacterial laccases from the phylum Actinobacteria, notably the order Actinomycetales. Currently, less than 10 enzymes have been properly characterized, all belonging to genus Streptomyces, but it is noteworthy that all of them have exhibited industrially important properties. Furthermore, studies with enzymes from this phylum revealed a novel molecular structure of laccases, providing the basis for a distinct family, the two-domain laccases. The relevant traits of actinomycetes laccases emphasize the need for more studies involving the isolation of this bacterial group from lignin-rich environmental samples, detection of their laccase activity and thereafter, characterization of the proteins and related genes. The nonhomogeneous responses of actinomycetes laccases to traditional inhibitors, substrates or metal ions have challenged the currently accepted “laccase concept”. Finally, considering that distinguishing laccase activity in vitro from other ligninolytic enzymes becomes a difficult task due to overlaps in catalytical properties of the enzymes, we proposed a simple flow chart to help experimental assays.

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Fernandes, T. , Silveira, W. , Passos, F. and Zucchi, T. (2014) Laccases from Actinobacteria—What We Have and What to Expect. Advances in Microbiology, 4, 285-296. doi: 10.4236/aim.2014.46035.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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