Laboratory-evolved vanillyl-alcohol oxidase produces natural vanillin.

The Journal of biological chemistry (2004-06-01)
Robert H H van den Heuvel, Willy A M van den Berg, Stefano Rovida, Willem J H van Berkel

The flavoenzyme vanillyl-alcohol oxidase was subjected to random mutagenesis to generate mutants with enhanced reactivity to creosol (2-methoxy-4-methylphenol). The vanillyl-alcohol oxidase-mediated conversion of creosol proceeds via a two-step process in which the initially formed vanillyl alcohol (4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzyl alcohol) is oxidized to the widely used flavor compound vanillin (4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzaldehyde). The first step of this reaction is extremely slow due to the formation of a covalent FAD N-5-creosol adduct. After a single round of error-prone PCR, seven mutants were generated with increased reactivity to creosol. The single-point mutants I238T, F454Y, E502G, and T505S showed an up to 40-fold increase in catalytic efficiency (kcat/Km) with creosol compared with the wild-type enzyme. This enhanced reactivity was due to a lower stability of the covalent flavin-substrate adduct, thereby promoting vanillin formation. The catalytic efficiencies of the mutants were also enhanced for other ortho-substituted 4-methylphenols, but not for p-cresol (4-methylphenol). The replaced amino acid residues are not located within a distance of direct interaction with the substrate, and the determined three-dimensional structures of the mutant enzymes are highly similar to that of the wild-type enzyme. These results clearly show the importance of remote residues, not readily predicted by rational design, for the substrate specificity of enzymes.

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2-Methoxy-4-methylphenol, ≥98%, FG
2-Methoxy-4-methylphenol, ≥98%
2-Methoxy-4-methylphenol, natural, 97%, FG