Company completes joint research on tomato enzymes, similar to NR synthases
Kobe, Japan – Sumitomo Rubber Industries has succeeded in elucidation and functional modification of cis-prenyltransferase (NDPS1) - an achievement that is claimed to advance the synthetic production of natural rubber.
Found in tomatoes, NDPS1 is an enzyme involved in the formation of terpenes – isoprene compounds that serve as the precursors for many substances found in plants – as well as the biosynthesis of natural rubber.
In a joint research with Tohoku University and Kanazawa University, the Japanese group said it elucidated the structure of the enzyme, using Riken research institute’s “cutting-edge” SPring-8 synchrotron radiation facility.
In a 3 March statement, Sumitomo Rubber said it launched the study on NDPS1 as the properties of the enzyme made it "better suited" to structural analysis than the natural rubber synthases found in Pará rubber trees.
The research, it added, sheds light on the structure of NDPS1 and determines the key sections affecting the length of its synthesis products.
In addition, Sumitomo Rubber managed to increase the degree of polymerisation, which it said ‘significantly enhanced’ the chemical reactivity of synthesis products by introducing new mutations to key sections.
“With this breakthrough, it has now become possible to biosynthesise compounds that do not exist in nature,” Sumitomo Rubber claimed.
The Japanese rubber group expects that elucidating the structure of NDPS1 will make it possible to shed further light on the mechanisms behind the biosynthesis of natural rubber.