Regiospecific oxidation of naphthalene and fluorene by toluene monooxygenases and engineered toluene 4-monooxygenases of Pseudomonas mendocina KR1

Ying Tao, William E. Bentley, Thomas K. Wood

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26 Scopus citations


The regiospecific oxidation of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons naphthalene and fluorene was examined with Escherichia coli strains expressing wildtype toluene 4-monooxygenase (T4MO) from Pseudomonas mendocina KR1, toluene para-monooxygenase (TpMO) from Ralstonia pickettii PKO1, toluene ortho-monooxygenase (TOM) from Burkholderia cepacia G4, and toluene/ ortho-xylene monooxygenase (ToMO) from P. stutzeri OX1. T4MO oxidized toluene (12.1 ± 0.8 nmol/min/mg protein at 109 μM), naphthalene (7.7 ± 1.5 nmol/min/mg protein at 5 mM), and fluorene (0.68 ± 0.04 nmol/min/ mg protein at 0.2 mM) faster than the other wildtype enzymes (2-22-fold) and produced a mixture of 1-naphthol (52%) and 2-naphthol (48%) from naphthalene, which was successively transformed to a mixture of 2,3-, 2,7-, 1,7-, and 2,6-dihydroxynaphthalenes (7%, 10%, 20%, and 63%, respectively). TOM and ToMO made 1,7-dihydroxynaphthalene from 1-naphthol, and ToMO made a mixture of 2,3-, 2,6-, 2,7-, and 1,7-dihydroxynaphthalene (26%, 22%, 1%, and 44%, respectively) from 2-naphthol. TOM had no activity on 2-naphthol, and T4MO had no activity on 1-naphthol. To take advantage of the high activity of wildtype T4MO but to increase its regiospecificity on naphthalene, seven engineered enzymes containing mutations in T4MO alpha hydroxylase TmoA were examined; the selectivity for 2-naphthol by T4MO I100A, I100S, and I100G was enhanced to 88-95%, and the selectivity for 1-naphthol was enhanced to 87% and 99% by T4MO I100L and G103S/A107G, respectively, while high oxidation rates were maintained except for G103S/A107G. Therefore, the regiospecificity for naphthalene oxidation was altered to practically pure 1-naphthol or 2-naphthol. All four wildtype monooxygenases were able to oxidize fluorene to different monohydroxylated products; T4MO oxidized fluorene successively to 3-hydroxyfluorene and 3,6-dihydroxyfluorene, which was confirmed by gas chromatography - mass spectrometry and 1H nuclear magnetic resonance analysis. TOM and its variant TomA3 V106A oxidize fluorene to a mixture of 1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-hydroxyfluorene. This is the first report of using enzymes to synthesize 1-, 3-, and 4-hydroxyfluorene, and 3,6-dihydroxyfluorene from fluorene as well as 2-naphthol and 2,6-dihydroxynaphthalene from naphthalene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-94
Number of pages10
JournalBiotechnology and bioengineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 5 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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