Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 100, Issue 24, pp 10573–10583 | Cite as

Stereospecificity of Corynebacterium glutamicum 2,3-butanediol dehydrogenase and implications for the stereochemical purity of bioproduced 2,3-butanediol

  • Dušica Radoš
  • David L. Turner
  • Teresa Catarino
  • Eugenia Hoffart
  • Ana Rute Neves
  • Bernhard J. Eikmanns
  • Bastian Blombach
  • Helena SantosEmail author
Applied microbial and cell physiology


The stereochemistry of 2,3-butanediol (2,3-BD) synthesis in microbial fermentations is important for many applications. In this work, we showed that Corynebacterium glutamicum endowed with the Lactococcus lactis genes encoding α-acetolactate synthase and decarboxylase activities produced meso-2,3-BD as the major end product, meaning that (R)-acetoin is a substrate for endogenous 2,3-butanediol dehydrogenase (BDH) activity. This is curious in view of the reported absolute stereospecificity of C. glutamicum BDH for (S)-acetoin (Takusagawa et al. Biosc Biotechnol Biochem 65:1876–1878, 2001). To resolve this discrepancy, the enzyme encoded by butA Cg was produced in Escherichia coli and purified, and the stereospecific properties of the pure protein were examined. Activity assays monitored online by 1H-NMR using racemic acetoin and an excess of NADH showed an initial, fast production of (2S,3S)-2,3-BD, followed by a slow (∼20-fold lower apparent rate) formation of meso-2,3-BD. Kinetic parameters for (S)-acetoin, (R)-acetoin, meso-2,3-BD and (2S,3S)-BD were determined by spectrophotometric assays. V max values for (S)-acetoin and (R)-acetoin were 119 ± 15 and 5.23 ± 0.06 μmol min−1 mg protein−1, and K m values were 0.23 ± 0.02 and 1.49 ± 0.07 mM, respectively. We conclude that C. glutamicum BDH is not absolutely specific for (S)-acetoin, though this is the preferred substrate. Importantly, the low activity of BDH with (R)-acetoin was sufficient to support high yields of meso-2,3-BD in the engineered strain C. glutamicum ΔaceEΔpqoΔldhA(pEKEx2-als,aldB,butA Cg ). Additionally, we found that the BDH activity was nearly abolished upon inactivation of butA Cg (from 0.30 ± 0.03 to 0.004 ± 0.001 μmol min−1 mg protein−1), indicating that C. glutamicum expresses a single BDH under the experimental conditions examined.


Butanediol dehydrogenase Corynebacterium glutamicum Stereospecificity 2,3-Butanediol 



Technical assistance by Sara Rebelo is gratefully acknowledged. The generous advice provided by Dr. Nuno Borges was very important to the development of this work.

Compliance with ethical standards


This work was supported by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Portugal, project MOSTMICRO UID/CBQ/04612/2013. The NMR spectrometers are part of the National NMR Facility, supported by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (RECI/BBB-BQB/0230/2012).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

253_2016_7860_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (339 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 339 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica António XavierUniversidade Nova de LisboaOeirasPortugal
  2. 2.Departamento de Química, Faculdade de Ciências e TecnologiaUniversidade Nova de LisboaCaparicaPortugal
  3. 3.Institute of Biochemical EngineeringUniversity of StuttgartStuttgartGermany
  4. 4.CED-DiscoveryHørsholmDenmark
  5. 5.Institute of Microbiology and BiotechnologyUniversity of UlmUlmGermany
  6. 6.Lisbon Academy of SciencesLisbonPortugal

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