Synechococcus PCC 7942, a cyanobacterium, possesses catalase–peroxidase as the sole hydrogen peroxide-scavenging system. The enzyme has been purified to electrophoretic homogenenity from the cells. The native enzyme had a molecular mass of 150 kDa and was composed of two identical subunits of molecular mass 79 kDa. The apparent Km value of the catalase activity for H2O2 was 4.2±0.27 mM and the kcat value was 2.6×104 s-1. The enzyme contained high catalase activity and an appreciable peroxidase activity with o-dianisidine and pyrogallol. The catalase activity was not inhibited by 3-amino-1,2,4-triazole but by KCN and NaN3 (apparent Ki values 19.3±0.84 and 20.2±0.95 μM respectively). The enzyme showed an absorption spectrum of typical protohaem and contained one protohaem molecule per dimer. The gene encoding catalase–peroxidase was cloned from the chromosomal DNA of Synechococcus PCC 7942. A 2160 bp open reading frame (ORF), coding a catalase–peroxidase of 720 amino acid residues (approx. 79.9 kDa), was observed. The deduced amino acid sequence coincided with that of the N-terminus of the purified enzyme and showed a remarkable similarity to those of a family of catalase–peroxidases of prokaryotic cells. Escherichia coli BL21(DE3)plysS, harbouring a recombinant plasmid containing the catalase–peroxidase gene, produced a large amount of proteins that co-migrated on SDS/PAGE with the native enzyme. The recombinant enzyme showed the same ratio of catalase activity to peroxidase activity with o-dianisidine and the same Km for H2O2 as the native enzyme.
The nucleotide sequence data reported will appear in DDBJ, EMBL and GenBank Nucleotide Sequence Databases under the accession number D61378.