Induced allostery in the directed evolution of an enantioselective Baeyer-Villiger monooxygenase

Sheng Wu, Juan Pablo Acevedo, Manfred T. Reetz

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114 Scopus citations


The molecular basis of allosteric effects, known to be caused by an effector docking to an enzyme at a site distal from the binding pocket, has been studied recently by applying directed evolution. Here, we utilize laboratory evolution in a different way, namely to induce allostery by introducing appropriate distal mutations that cause domain movements with concomitant reshaping of the binding pocket in the absence of an effector. To test this concept, the thermostable Baeyer-Villiger monooxygenase, phenylacetone monooxygenase (PAMO), was chosen as the enzyme to be employed in asymmetric Baeyer-Villiger reactions of substrates that are not accepted by the wild type. By using the known X-ray structure of PAMO, a decision was made regarding an appropriate site at which saturation mutagenesis is most likely to generate mutants capable of inducing allostery without any effector compound being present. After screening only 400 transformants, a double mutant was discovered that catalyzes the asymmetric oxidative kinetic resolution of a set of structurally different 2-substituted cyclohexanone derivatives as well as the desymmetrization of three different 4-substituted cyclohexanones, all with high enantioselectivity. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and covariance maps unveiled the origin of increased substrate scope as being due to allostery. Large domain movements occur that expose and reshape the binding pocket. This type of focused library production, aimed at inducing significant allosteric effects, is a viable alternative to traditional approaches to "designed" directed evolution that address the binding site directly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2775-2780
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number7
StatePublished - 16 Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Allosteric effects
  • Enzymes
  • Molecular dynamics simulations
  • Protein engineering


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