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Carboxylic acid reductases (CARs) catalyze ATP- and NADPH-dependent reduction of carboxylic acids to corresponding aldehydes. Although successful applications of these enzymes for the bioconversion of monocarboxylic acids have already been reported, their applicability for the reduction of dicarboxylic acids is not well understood. Here, we explored the possibility of engineering CARs for enhanced activity toward succinic acid for potential applications in 1,4-butanediol production. Structural models of the carboxylate-binding pocket of the CAR enzyme MAB4714 from Mycobacterium abscessus suggested that its reactivity toward succinic acid could be enhanced by reducing the pocket volume. Using site-directed mutagenesis, we introduced larger side chains into the MAB4714 carboxylate binding pocket and compared the activity of 16 mutant proteins against cinnamic and succinic acids. These experiments revealed that, although the reaction rates remain low, the replacement of Leu284 or Thr285 with Trp increased activity toward succinic acid more than two times. The T285E mutant protein also showed increased activity toward succinic acid, but it was lower than that of T285W. The mutated residues of MAB4714 are located on the flexible loop covering the carboxylate-binding pocket, which appears to contribute to substrate preference of CARs. Thus, reductase activity of CARs against succinic acid can be improved by introducing large side chains into the carboxylate-binding pocket. We also discovered that alanine replacement of the conserved Ser713 in the CAR phosphopantetheine attachment site resulted in complete degradation of the full-length protein into separate A and R domains, suggesting that CAR phosphopantetheinylation is important for its stability in solution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-79
JournalJournal of Biotechnology
Early online date2 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2019
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