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A cold active (2R,3R)-(−)-di-O-benzoyl-tartrate hydrolyzing esterase from Rhodotorula mucilaginosa

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In a screening procedure a pink-colored yeast was isolated from enrichment cultures with (2R,3R)-(−)-di-O-benzoyl-tartrate (benzoyl-tartrate) as the sole carbon source. The organism saar1 was identified by morphological, physiological, and 18S ribosomal DNA/internal transcribed spacer analysis as Rhodotorula mucilaginosa, a basidiomycetous yeast. During growth the yeast hydrolyzed the dibenzoyl ester stoichiometrically to the monoester using the separated benzoate as the growth substrate, before the monoester was further cleaved into benzoate and tartrate, which were both metabolized. The corresponding benzoyl esterase was purified from the culture supernatant and characterized as a monomeric glycosylated 86-kDa protein with an optimum pH of 7.5 and an optimum temperature of 45 °C. At 0 °C the esterase still exhibited 20% of the corresponding activity at 30 °C, which correlates it to psychrophilic enzymes. The esterase could hydrolyze short chain p-nitrophenyl-alkyl esters and several benzoyl esters like benzoyl-methyl ester, ethylene-glycol-dibenzoyl ester, phenyl-benzoyl ester, cocaine, and 1,5-anhydro-d-fructose-tribenzoyl ester. However feruloyl-ethyl ester was not hydrolyzed. The activity characteristics let the enzyme appear as a promising tool for synthesis of benzoylated compounds for pharmaceutical, cosmetic, or fine chemical applications, even at low temperatures.

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The provision of 1,5-anhydro-d-fructose-tribenzoyl ester by I. Lundt and M. Andreassen, Organic Chemistry, DTU, Copenhagen, Denmark, is gratefully acknowledged. We thank F. T. Peters, Toxicology, Saarland University, Homburg, Germany, for very helpful assistance in cocaine hydrolyses. This study was financially supported by the European Union within the 5th Framework Programme NEPSA under contract no. QLK3-CT-2001-02400.

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Correspondence to Gert-Wieland Kohring.

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Zimmer, C., Platz, T., Cadez, N. et al. A cold active (2R,3R)-(−)-di-O-benzoyl-tartrate hydrolyzing esterase from Rhodotorula mucilaginosa . Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 73, 132–140 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-006-0463-x

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  • Internal Transcribe Spacer
  • Rhodotorula
  • Rhodotorula Glutinis
  • Aromatic Ester
  • Phenyl Benzoate