Carbonyl reductase identification and development of whole-cell biotransformation for highly efficient synthesis of (R)-[3,5-bis(trifluoromethyl)phenyl] ethanol.Microb Cell Fact 2016; 15(1):191MC
(R)-[3,5-bis(trifluoromethyl)phenyl] ethanol [(R)-3,5-BTPE] is a valuable chiral intermediate for Aprepitant (Emend) and Fosaprepitant (Ivemend). Biocatalyzed asymmetric reduction is a preferred approach to synthesize highly optically active (R)-3,5-BTPE. However, the product concentration and productivity of reported (R)-3,5-BTPE synthetic processes remain unsatisfied.
A NADPH-dependent carbonyl reductase from Lactobacillus kefir (LkCR) was discovered by genome mining for reduction of 3,5-bis(trifluoromethyl) acetophenone (3,5-BTAP) into (R)-3,5-BTPE with excellent enantioselectivity. In order to synthesize (R)-3,5-BTPE efficiently, LkCR was coexpressed with glucose dehydrogenase from Bacillus subtilis (BsGDH) for NADPH regeneration in Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3) cells, and the optimal recombinant strain produced 250.3 g/L (R)-3,5-BTPE with 99.9% ee but an unsatisfied productivity of 5.21 g/(L h). Then, four different linker peptides were used for the fusion expression of LkCR and BsGDH in E. coli to regulate catalytic efficiency of the enzymes and improved NADPH-recycling efficiency. Using the best strain (E. coli/pET-BsGDH-ER/K(10 nm)-LkCR), up to 297.3 g/L (R)-3,5-BTPE with enantiopurity >99.9% ee was produced via reduction of as much as 1.2 M of substrate with a 96.7% yield and productivity of 29.7 g/(L h).
Recombinant E. coli/pET-BsGDH-ER/K(10 nm)-LkCR was developed for the bioreduction of 3,5-BTAP to (R)-3,5-BTPE, offered the best results in terms of high product concentration and productivity, demonstrating its great potential in industrial manufacturing of (R)-3,5-BTPE.