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Prep Biochem Biotechnol. 2012;42(2):143-54. doi: 10.1080/10826068.2011.583975.

Optimal production of L-threo-2,3-dihydroxyphenylserine (L-threo-DOPS) on a large scale by diastereoselectivity-enhanced variant of L-threonine aldolase expressed in Escherichia coli.

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Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, and Research Institute of Human Ecology, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju, Jeonbuk, Korea.


This study examined the efficient production and optimal separation procedures for pure L-threo-3,4-dihydroxyphenylserine (L-threo-DOPS) from a mixture of diastereomers synthesized by whole-cell aldol condensation reaction, harboring diastereoselectivity-enhanced L-threonine aldolase in Escherichia coli JM109. The addition of the reducing agent sodium sulfite was found to stimulate the production of L-threo-DOPS without affecting the diastereoselectivity ratio, especially at the 50 mM concentration. The optimal pH for diastereoselective synthesis was 6.5. The addition of Triton X-100 also strongly affected the synthesis yield, showing the highest conversion yield at a 0.75% concentration; however, the diastereoselectivity of the L-threonine aldolase was not affected. Lowering the temperature to 10°C did not significantly affect the diastereoselectiviy without affecting the synthesis rate. At the optimized conditions, a mixture of L-threo-DOPS and L-erythro-DOPS was synthesized by diastereoselectivity-enhanced L-threonine aldolase from E. coli in a continuous process for 100 hr, yielding an average of 4.0 mg/mL of L-threo-DOPS and 60% diastereoselectivity (de), and was subjected to two steps of ion exchange chromatography. The optimum separation conditions for the resin and solvent were evaluated in which it was found that a two-step process with the ion-exchange resin Dowex 50 W × 8 and activated carbon by washing with 0.5 N acetic acid was sufficient to separate the L-threo-DOPS. By using two-step ion-exchange chromatography, synthesized high-purity L-threo-DOPS of up to 100% was purified with a yield of 71%. The remaining substrates, glycine and 3,4-dihydroxybenzaldehyde, were recovered successfully with a yield of 71.2%. Our results indicate this potential procedure as an economical purification process for the synthesis and purification of important L-threo-DOPS at the pharmaceutical level.

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