Biochemical characterization and synthetic application of aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase from Bacillus atrophaeus

Yeri Choi, Sang Woo Han, Jun Sung Kim, Youngho Jang, Jong Shik Shin

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract: Aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylases (AADCs) are ubiquitously found in higher organisms owing to their physiological role in the synthesis of neurotransmitters and alkaloids. However, bacterial AADC has not attracted much attention because of its rather limited availability and narrow substrate range. Here, we examined the biochemical properties of AADC from Bacillus atrophaeus (AADC-BA) and assessed the synthetic feasibility of the enzyme for the preparation of monoamine neurotransmitters. AADC-BA was expressed in Escherichia coli BL21(DE3) and the purified enzyme showed a specific activity of 2.6 ± 0.4 U/mg for 10 mM l-phenylalanine (l-Phe) at 37 °C. AADC-BA showed optimal pH and temperature ranges at 7–8 and 37–45 °C, respectively. The KM and kcat values for l-Phe were 7.2 mM and 7.4 s−1, respectively, at pH 7.0 and 37 °C. Comparison of the kinetic constants at different temperatures revealed that the temperature dependency of the enzyme was mainly determined by catalytic turnover rather than substrate binding. AADC-BA showed a broad substrate scope for various aromatic amino acids, including l-Phe, l-tryptophan (610% relative to l-Phe), l-tyrosine (12%), 3,4-dihydroxyphenyl-l-alanine (24%), 5-hydroxy-l-tryptophan (l-HTP, 71%), 4-chloro-l-phenylalanine (520%), and 4-nitro-l-phenylalanine (450%). Homology modeling and docking simulations were carried out and were consistent with the observed substrate specificity. To demonstrate the synthetic potential of AADC-BA, we carried out the production of serotonin by decarboxylation of L-HTP. The reaction yield of serotonin reached 98% after 1 h at the reaction conditions of 50 mM l-HTP and 4 U/mL AADC-BA. Moreover, we carried out preparative-scale decarboxylation of l-Phe (100 mM in 40-mL reaction mixture) and isolated the resulting 2-phenylethylamine (51% recovery yield). We expect that the broad substrate specificity of AADC-BA can be exploited to produce various aromatic biogenic amines. Key points: • AADC-BA showed broad substrate specificity for various aromatic amino acids. • The substrate specificity was elucidated by in silico structural modeling. • The synthetic potential of AADC-BA was demonstrated for the production of biogenic amines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2775-2785
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Apr

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH, DE part of Springer Nature.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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