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Rational design of short-chain dehydrogenase DHDR for efficient synthesis of (S)-equol
  • +2
  • weichuang qin,
  • lujia zhang,
  • wei zhou,
  • yichen yang,
  • Bei Gao
weichuang qin
ECUST
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lujia zhang
ECNU
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wei zhou
ECUST
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yichen yang
ECUST
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Bei Gao
ECUST

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Abstract

(S)-equol, the most influential metabolite of daidzein in vivo, has aroused great attention due to the excellent biological activities. Although existing studies have accomplished the construction of its heterologous synthetic pathway in the context of anaerobicity and inefficiency of natural strains, the low productivity of (S)-equol limits its industrial application. Here, rational design strategies based on decreasing the pocket steric hindrance and fine-tuning the pocket microenvironment to systematically redesign the binding pocket of enzyme were developed and processed to the rate-limiting enzyme DHDR in (S)-equol synthesis. After iterative combinatorial mutagenesis, an effective mutant S118G/T169A capable of significantly increasing (S)-equol yield was obtained. Computational analyses illustrated that the main reason of the increased activity relied on the decreased critical distance and more stable interacting conformation. Then, the reaction optimization was performed, and the recombinant Escherichia coli whole-cell biocatalyst harboring S118G/T169A enabled the efficient conversion of 2 mM daidzein to (S)-equol, achieving yields of 84.5%, which was 2.9 times higher than that of the parental strain expressing wide type DHDR. This study provides an effective idea and a feasible method for enzyme modification and whole-cell catalytic synthesis of (S)-equol, and will greatly accelerate the process of industrial production.