The O-heterocycles, benzo-1,4-dioxane, phthalan, isochroman, 2,3-dihydrobenzofuran, benzofuran, and dibenzofuran are important building blocks with considerable medical application for the production of pharmaceuticals. Cytochrome P450 monooxygenase (P450) Bacillus megaterium
3 (BM3) wild type (WT) from Bacillus megaterium
has low to no conversion of the six O-heterocycles. Screening of in-house libraries for active variants yielded P450 BM3 CM1 (R255P/P329H), which was subjected to directed evolution and site saturation mutagenesis of four positions. The latter led to the identification of position R255, which when introduced in the P450 BM3 WT, outperformed all other variants. The initial oxidation rate of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) consumption increased ≈140-fold (WT: 8.3 ± 1.3 min−1
; R255L: 1168 ± 163 min−1
), total turnover number (TTN) increased ≈21-fold (WT: 40 ± 3; R255L: 860 ± 15), and coupling efficiency, ≈2.9-fold (WT: 8.8 ± 0.1%; R255L: 25.7 ± 1.0%). Computational analysis showed that substitution R255L (distant from the heme-cofactor) does not have the salt bridge formed with D217 in WT, which introduces flexibility into the I-helix and leads to a heme rearrangement allowing for efficient hydroxylation.
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