, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 587-594,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 02 May 2008

Laboratory evolution of Pyrococcus furiosus alcohol dehydrogenase to improve the production of (2S,5S)-hexanediol at moderate temperatures


There is considerable interest in the use of enantioselective alcohol dehydrogenases for the production of enantio- and diastereomerically pure diols, which are important building blocks for pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and fine chemicals. Due to the need for a stable alcohol dehydrogenase with activity at low-temperature process conditions (30°C) for the production of (2S,5S)-hexanediol, we have improved an alcohol dehydrogenase from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus (AdhA). A stable S-selective alcohol dehydrogenase with increased activity at 30°C on the substrate 2,5-hexanedione was generated by laboratory evolution on the thermostable alcohol dehydrogenase AdhA. One round of error-prone PCR and screening of ∼1,500 mutants was performed. The maximum specific activity of the best performing mutant with 2,5-hexanedione at 30°C was tenfold higher compared to the activity of the wild-type enzyme. A 3D-model of AdhA revealed that this mutant has one mutation in the well-conserved NADP(H)-binding site (R11L), and a second mutation (A180V) near the catalytic and highly conserved threonine at position 183.

Communicated by F. Robb.