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J Biotechnol. 2008 Apr 30;134(3-4):231-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2008.01.017. Epub 2008 Feb 8.

A novel hydantoinase process using recombinant Escherichia coli cells with dihydropyrimidinase and L-N-carbamoylase activities as biocatalyst for the production of L-homophenylalanine.

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Department of Biotechnology, Hungkuang University, Taichung 433, Taiwan.


A dihydropyrimidinase gene (pydB) was cloned from the moderate thermophilic Brevibacillus agri NCHU1002 and expressed in Escherichia coli. The purified dihydropyrimidinase exhibited strict d-enantioselectivity for D,L-p-hydroxyphenylhydantoin and D,L-5-[2-(methylthio)ethyl]hydantoin, and non-enantiospecificity for D,L-homophenylalanylhydantoin (D,L-HPAH). The hydrolytic activity of PydB was enhanced notably by Mn2+, with a maximal activity at 60 degrees C and pH 8.0. This enzyme was completely thermostable at 50 degrees C for 20 days. A whole cell biocatalyst for the production of L-homophenylalanine (L-HPA) from D,L-HPAH by coexpression of the pydB gene and a thermostable L-N-carbamoylase gene from Bacillus kaustophilus CCRC11223 in E. coli JM109 was developed. The expression levels of dihydropyrimidinase and L-N-carbamoylase in the recombinant E. coli cells were estimated to be about 20% of the respective total soluble proteins. When 1% (w/v) isopropyl-beta-D-thiogalactopyranoside-induced cells were used as biocatalysts, a conversion yield of 49% for L-HPA with more than 99% ee could be reached in 16 h at pH 7.0 from 10mM D,L-HPAH. The cells can be reused for at least eight cycles at a conversion yield of more than 43%. Our results revealed that coexpression of pydB and lnc in E. coli might be a potential biocatalyst for L-HPA production.

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