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FEBS Lett. 1998 Aug 14;433(1-2):78-82.

Synthesis of amidrazones using an engineered papain nitrile hydratase.

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  • 1Biotechnology Research Institute, National Research Council of Canada, Montreal, Que.


To demonstrate the usefulness of an engineered papain nitrile hydratase as a biocatalyst, a peptide amidrazone was prepared by incubation of the nitrile MeOCO-Phe-Alanitrile with the Gln19Glu papain mutant in the presence of salicylic hydrazide as a nucleophile. The amidrazone results from nucleophilic attack by salicylic hydrazide at the imino carbon of the thioimidate adduct formed between the enzyme and the peptide nitrile substrate. Compared to wild-type enzyme, the engineered nitrile hydratase causes a better than 4000-fold increase in the rate of amidrazone formation and yields a product of much higher purity. The advantages over other nitrile-hydrolyzing enzymes and current limitations of the papain nitrile hydratase are discussed.

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