Engineering Monolignol 4- O -Methyltransferases to Modulate Lignin Biosynthesis
ABSTRACT Lignin is a complex polymer derived from the oxidative coupling of three classical monolignols. Lignin precursors are methylated exclusively at the meta-positions (i.e. 3/5-OH) of their phenyl rings by native O-methyltransferases, and are precluded from substitution of the para-hydroxyl (4-OH) position. Ostensibly, the para-hydroxyls of phenolics are critically important for oxidative coupling of phenoxy radicals to form polymers. Therefore, creating a 4-O-methyltransferase to substitute the para-hydroxyl of monolignols might well interfere with the synthesis of lignin. The phylogeny of plant phenolic O-methyltransferases points to the existence of a batch of evolutionarily "plastic" amino acid residues. Following one amino acid at a time path of directed evolution, and using the strategy of structure-based iterative site-saturation mutagenesis, we created a novel monolignol 4-O-methyltransferase from the enzyme responsible for methylating phenylpropenes. We show that two plastic residues in the active site of the parental enzyme are vital in dominating substrate discrimination. Mutations at either one of these separate the evolutionarily tightly linked properties of substrate specificity and regioselective methylation of native O-methyltransferase, thereby conferring the ability for para-methylation of the lignin monomeric precursors, primarily monolignols. Beneficial mutations at both sites have an additive effect. By further optimizing enzyme activity, we generated a triple mutant variant that may structurally constitute a novel phenolic substrate binding pocket, leading to its high binding affinity and catalytic efficiency on monolignols. The 4-O-methoxylation of monolignol efficiently impairs oxidative radical coupling in vitro, highlighting the potential for applying this novel enzyme in managing lignin polymerization in planta.
SourceAvailable from: Pham Le Thanh Mai[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Free-hydroxyl phenolic units can decrease or even abort the catalytic activity of lignin peroxidase H8 during oxidation of veratryl alcohol and model lignin dimers, resulting in slow and inefficient lignin degradation. In this study we applied engineered 4-O-methyltransferase from Clarkia breweri to detoxify the inhibiting free-hydroxyl phenolic groups by converting them to methylated phenolic groups. The multistep, enzyme-catalyzed process that combines 4-O-methyltransferase and lignin peroxidase H8 suggested in this work can increase the efficiency of lignin-degradation. This study also suggests approaching the field of multi-enzyme in vitro systems to improve the understanding and development of plant biomass in biorefinery operations.Enzyme and Microbial Technology 11/2014; 66. DOI:10.1016/j.enzmictec.2014.08.011 · 2.97 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Increased global interest in a bio-based economy has reinvigorated the research on the cell wall structure and composition in plants. In particular, the study of plant lignification has become a central focus, with respect to its intractability and negative impact on the utilization of the cell wall biomass for producing biofuels and bio-based chemicals. Striking progress has been achieved in the last few years both on our fundamental understanding of lignin biosynthesis, deposition and assembly, and on the interplay of lignin synthesis with the plant growth and development. With the knowledge gleaned from basic studies, researchers are now able to invent and develop elegant biotechnological strategies to sophisticatedly manipulate the quantity and structure of lignin and thus to create economically viable bioenergy feedstocks. These concerted efforts open an avenue for the commercial production of cost-competitive biofuel to meet our energy needs.Plant Biotechnology Journal 09/2014; DOI:10.1111/pbi.12250 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The M-ISM strategy is developed for rapid directed evolution of functional enzymes, with multiple sites being targeted simultaneously.•The M-ISM approach overcomes the deficiencies of the traditional ISM method by increasing library quality and simplifying the procedure.•The M-ISM strategy greatly reduces the screening effort compared to the ISM approach.•The M-ISM approach takes advantage of the DC-Analyzer-facilitated strategy to construct high-quality combinatorial libraries.Journal of Biotechnology 12/2014; 192. DOI:10.1016/j.jbiotec.2014.10.023 · 2.88 Impact Factor