Verification of a Novel NADH-Binding Motif: Combinatorial Mutagenesis of Three Amino Acids in the Cofactor-Binding Pocket of Corynebacterium 2,5-Diketo-D-Gluconic Acid Reductase
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A screening method has been developed to support randomized mutagenesis of amino acids in the cofactor-binding pocket of the NADPH-dependent 2,5-diketo-D-gluconic acid (2,5-DKG) reductase. Such an approach could enable the isolation of an enzyme that can better catalyze the reduction of 2,5-DKG to 2-keto-L-gulonic acid (2-KLG) using NADH as a cofactor. 2-KLG is a valuable precursor to ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, and an enzyme with increased activity with NADH may be able to improve two potential vitamin C production processes. Previously we have identified three amino acid residues that can be mutated to improve activity with NADH as a cofactor. As a pilot study to show feasibility, a library was made with these three amino acids randomized, and 300 random colonies were screened for increased NADH activity. The activities of seven mutants with apparent improvements were verified using activity-stained native gels, and sequencing showed that the amino acids obtained were similar to some of those already discovered using rational design. The four most active mutants were purified and kinetically characterized. All of the new mutations resulted in apparent kcat values that were equal to or higher than that of the best mutant obtained through rational design. At saturating levels of cofactor, the best mutant obtained was almost twice as active with NADH as a cofactor as the wild-type enzyme is with NADPH. This screen is a valuable tool for improving 2,5-DKG reductase, and it could easily be modified for improving other aspects of this protein or similar enzymes.
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