Exploring Lactobacillus reuteri DSM20016 as a biocatalyst for transformation of longer chain 1,2-diols: Limits with microcompartment
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Lactobacillus reuteri metabolises glycerol efficiently to form 3-hydroxypropionic acid (3-HP) and 1,3-propanediol (1,3PDO) by the same mechanism as that for 1,2-propanediol (1,2PDO) conversion to propionic acid and propanol via its propanediol utilization (pdu) pathway. Pdu enzymes are encoded by the pdu-operon, which also contain genes encoding the shell proteins of the microcompartment housing the metabolic pathway. In this work the selectivity and kinetics of the reactions catalysed by L. reuteri DSM20016 Pdu enzymes glycerol dehydratase (GDH), 1,3-propanediol oxidoreductase (PduQ) and coenzyme-A acylating propionaldehyde dehydrogenase (PduP), produced recombinantly, was investigated against corresponding substrates of different chain lengths. Glycerol dehydratase exhibited activity against C2-C4 polyols, with the highest activity against glycerol and 1,2-propanediol (1,2-PDO). A double mutant of the pduC gene of GDH (PduC-S302A/Q337A) was constructed that displayed lowered activity against glycerol and 1,2PDO but extended the substrate range upto C6-diol. The best substrate for both PduQ and PduP was 3-hydroxypropanal (3HPA), although PduP exhibited nearly 10-fold higher specific activity. The enzymes also showed some activity against C3-C10 aliphatic aldehydes, with PduP having higher relative activity. Subsequently, transformation of polyols using whole cells of L. reuteri containing the wild type- and mutated GDH, respectively, confirmed the reduced activity of the mutant against glycerol and 1,2PDO, but its activity against longer substrates was negligible. In contrast, recombinant Escherichia coli BL21(DE3) cells harboring the GDH variant converted diols with up to C6 carbon chain length to their respective aldehydes, suggesting that the protein shell of the microcompartment in L. reuteri posed a barrier to the passage of longer chain substrate.