Esterase (PpEST) from Pseudomonas putida IFO12996 catalyzes the stereoselective hydrolysis of methyl dl-β-acetylthioisobutyrate (DL-MATI) and dl-β-acetylthioisobutyramide (DL-ATIA) to give d-β- acetylthioisobutyric acid (DAT). DAT is a key intermediate for the synthesis of a series of angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors. To use enzyme for the DAT production, the PpEST gene of P. putida IFO12996 was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. PpEST with a molecular weight of 33 kDa could hydrolyze DL-MATI and DL-ATIA to give DAT with enantiometric excess value (e.e. value) about 97% and enantioselectivity value (E-value) >150, respectively. The kinetic constants of PpEST for DL-MATI and DL-ATIA were examined and they showed that DL-ATIA was a poorer substrate than DL-MATI for PpEST. However, DL-ATIA was 20-fold more soluble in water than DL-MATI, it was more stable than DL-MATI and it did not show substrate inhibition of the PpEST up to 780 mM. This result suggested that PpEST is an esterase but with amidase activity, which can kinetically resolve DL-ATIA to yield DAT and DL-ATIA is a better choice than DL-MATI for industrial production of DAT by the enzymatic resolution method.
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