Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 89, Issue 2, pp 249–257 | Cite as

YqhD: a broad-substrate range aldehyde reductase with various applications in production of biorenewable fuels and chemicals

  • Laura R. Jarboe


The Escherichia coli NADPH-dependent aldehyde reductase YqhD has contributed to a variety of metabolic engineering projects for production of biorenewable fuels and chemicals. As a scavenger of toxic aldehydes produced by lipid peroxidation, YqhD has reductase activity for a broad range of short-chain aldehydes, including butyraldehyde, glyceraldehyde, malondialdehyde, isobutyraldehyde, methylglyoxal, propanealdehyde, acrolein, furfural, glyoxal, 3-hydroxypropionaldehyde, glycolaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and acetol. This reductase activity has proven useful for the production of biorenewable fuels and chemicals, such as isobutanol and 1,3- and 1,2-propanediol; additional capability exists for production of 1-butanol, 1-propanol, and allyl alcohol. A drawback of this reductase activity is the diversion of valuable NADPH away from biosynthesis. This YqhD-mediated NADPH depletion provides sufficient burden to contribute to growth inhibition by furfural and 5-hydroxymethyl furfural, inhibitory contaminants of biomass hydrolysate. The structure of YqhD has been characterized, with identification of a Zn atom in the active site. Directed engineering efforts have improved utilization of 3-hydroxypropionaldehyde and NADPH. Most recently, two independent projects have demonstrated regulation of yqhD by YqhC, where YqhC appears to function as an aldehyde sensor.


Aldo–keto Promiscuous Glutathione Tolerance Reverse engineering 



This work was funded by the Iowa State University Office of Biotechnology and the NSF Center for Biorenewable Chemicals Engineering Research Center, EEC-0813570. Chemical structures were obtained from ChemID Plus.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical and Biological EngineeringIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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