Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 97, Issue 17, pp 7741–7754 | Cite as

Application of a new versatile electron transfer system for cytochrome P450-based Escherichia coli whole-cell bioconversions

  • Michael Ringle
  • Yogan Khatri
  • Josef Zapp
  • Frank Hannemann
  • Rita BernhardtEmail author
Biotechnologically relevant enzymes and proteins


Cytochromes P450 monooxygenases are highly interesting biocatalysts for biotechnological applications, since they perform a diversity of reactions on a broad range of organic molecules. Nevertheless, the application of cytochromes P450 is limited compared to other enzymes mainly because of the necessity of a functional redox chain to transfer electrons from NAD(P)H to the monooxygenase. In this study, we established a novel robust redox chain based on adrenodoxin, which can deliver electrons to mitochondrial, bacterial and microsomal P450s. The natural membrane-associated reductase of adrenodoxin was replaced by the soluble Escherichia coli reductase. We could demonstrate for the first time that this reductase can transfer electrons to adrenodoxin. In the first step, the electron transfer properties and the potential of this new system were investigated in vitro, and in the second step, an efficient E. coli whole-cell system using CYP264A1 from Sorangium cellulosum So ce56 was developed. It could be demonstrated that this novel redox chain leads to an initial conversion rate of 55 μM/h, which was 52 % higher compared to the 36 μM/h of the redox chain containing adrenodoxin reductase. Moreover, we optimized the whole-cell biotransformation system by a detailed investigation of the effects of different media. Finally, we are able to demonstrate that the new system is generally applicable to other cytochromes P450 by combining it with the biotechnologically important steroid hydroxylase CYP106A2 from Bacillus megaterium.


Cytochromes P450 Biotechnology Adrenodoxin Escherichia coli reductase Redox chain Whole-cell system CYP264A1 CYP106A1 



This work was supported by a fellowship awarded by the Scholarship Program of the German Federal Environmental Foundation [Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU)] to Michael Ringle. We are also thankful to Wolfgang Reinle for the expression and purification of Adx and AdR.

Supplementary material

253_2012_4612_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.6 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 1599 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Ringle
    • 1
  • Yogan Khatri
    • 1
  • Josef Zapp
    • 2
  • Frank Hannemann
    • 1
  • Rita Bernhardt
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistrySaarland UniversitySaarbrueckenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Pharmaceutical BiologySaarland UniversitySaarbrueckenGermany
  3. 3.Institut für BiochemieUniversität des SaarlandesSaarbrueckenGermany

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