Biotechnologically Relevant Enzymes and Proteins

Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 87, Issue 1, pp 185-193

First online:

Asymmetric synthesis of (S)-3-chloro-1-phenyl-1-propanol using Saccharomyces cerevisiae reductase with high enantioselectivity

  • Yun Hee ChoiAffiliated withDivision of Biotechnology, The Catholic University of Korea
  • , Hye Jeong ChoiAffiliated withDivision of Biotechnology, The Catholic University of Korea
  • , Dooil KimAffiliated withSystems Microbiology Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology
  • , Ki-Nam UhmAffiliated withEquispharm Ltd.
  • , Hyung-Kwoun KimAffiliated withDivision of Biotechnology, The Catholic University of Korea Email author 

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3-Chloro-1-phenyl-1-propanol is used as a chiral intermediate in the synthesis of antidepressant drugs. Various microbial reductases were expressed in Escherichia coli, and their activities toward 3-chloro-1-phenyl-1-propanone were evaluated. The yeast reductase YOL151W (GenBank locus tag) exhibited the highest level of activity and exclusively generated the (S)-alcohol. Recombinant YOL151W was purified by Ni-nitrilotriacetic acid (Ni-NTA) and desalting column chromatography. It displayed an optimal temperature and pH of 40°C and 7.5–8.0, respectively. The glucose dehydrogenase coupling reaction was introduced as an NADPH regeneration system. NaOH solution was occasionally added to maintain the reaction solution pH within the range of 7.0–7.5. By using this reaction system, the substrate (30 mM) could be completely converted to the (S)-alcohol product with an enantiomeric excess value of 100%. A homology model of YOL151W was constructed based on the structure of Sporobolomyces salmonicolor carbonyl reductase (Protein Data Bank ID: 1Y1P). A docking model of YOL151W with NADPH and 3-chloro-1-phenyl-1-propanone was then constructed, which showed that the cofactor and substrate bound tightly to the active site of the enzyme in the lowest free energy state and explained how the (S)-alcohol was produced exclusively in the reduction process.


Antidepressant drugs Chiral intermediate Docking model Enantioselectivity Reductase