Protein engineering, design & selection : PEDS

A Thermoanaerobacter ethanolicus secondary alcohol dehydrogenase mutant derivative highly active and stereoselective on phenylacetone and benzylacetone.

PMID 17283007


The secondary alcohol dehydrogenase from Thermoanaerobacter ethanolicus 39E (TeSADH) is highly thermostable and solvent-stable, and it is active on a broad range of substrates. These properties make TeSADH an excellent template to engineer an industrial catalyst for chiral chemical synthesis. (S)-1-Phenyl-2-propanol was our target product because it is a precursor to major pharmaceuticals containing secondary alcohol groups. TeSADH has no detectable activity on this alcohol, but it is highly active on 2-butanol. The structural model we used to plan our mutagenesis strategy was based on the substrate's orientation in a horse liver alcohol dehydrogenase*p-bromobenzyl alcohol*NAD(+) ternary complex (PDB entry 1HLD). The W110A TeSADH mutant now uses (S)-1-phenyl-2-propanol, (S)-4-phenyl-2-butanol and the corresponding ketones as substrates. W110A TeSADH's kinetic parameters on these substrates are in the same range as those of TeSADH on 2-butanol, making W110A TeSADH an excellent catalyst. In particular, W110A TeSADH is twice as efficient on benzylacetone as TeSADH is on 2-butanol, and it produces (S)-4-phenyl-2-butanol from benzylacetone with an enantiomeric excess above 99%. W110A TeSADH is optimally active at 87.5 degrees C and remains highly thermostable. W110A TeSADH is active on aryl derivatives of phenylacetone and benzylacetone, making this enzyme a potentially useful catalyst for the chiral synthesis of aryl derivatives of alcohols. As a control in our engineering approach, we used the TbSADH*(S)-2-butanol binary complex (PDB entry 1BXZ) as the template to model a mutation that would make TeSADH active on (S)-1-phenyl-2-propanol. Mutant Y267G TeSADH did not have the substrate specificity predicted in this modeling study. Our results suggest that (S)-2-butanol's orientation in the TbSADH*(S)-2-butanol binary complex does not reflect its orientation in the ternary enzyme-substrate-cofactor complex.