Biotechnology and bioengineering

Simultaneous synthesis of 2-phenylethanol and L-homophenylalanine using aromatic transaminase with yeast Ehrlich pathway.

PMID 19016485


2-Phenylethanol is a widely used aroma compound with rose-like fragrance and L-homophenylalanine is a building block of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor. 2-phenylethanol and L-homophenylalanine were synthesized simultaneously with high yield from 2-oxo-4-phenylbutyric acid and L-phenylalanine, respectively. A recombinant Escherichia coli harboring a coupled reaction pathway comprising of aromatic transaminase, phenylpyruvate decarboxylase, carbonyl reductase, and glucose dehydrogenase (GDH) was constructed. In the coupled reaction pathway, the transaminase reaction was coupled with the Ehrlich pathway of yeast; (1) a phenylpyruvate decarboxylase (YDR380W) as the enzyme to generate the substrate for the carbonyl reductase from phenylpyruvate (i.e., byproduct of the transaminase reaction) and to shift the reaction equilibrium of the transaminase reaction, and (2) a carbonyl reductase (YGL157W) to produce the 2-phenylethanol. Selecting the right carbonyl reductase showing the highest activity on phenylacetaldehyde with narrow substrate specificity was the key to success of the constructing the coupling reaction. In addition, NADPH regeneration was achieved by incorporating the GDH from Bacillus subtilis in the coupled reaction pathway. Based on 40 mM of L-phenylalanine used, about 96% final product conversion yield of 2-phenylethanol was achieved using the recombinant E. coli.