Engineering the enantioselective reduction of citral isomers in NCR ene reductase

Conference Dates

September 24-28, 2017


Ene reductases are members of the Old Yellow Enzyme family catalyzing the asymmetric reduction of activated C=C double bonds with high stereoselectivities. The selective reduction of citral to (R)-citronellal is of special interest as it is a cheap precursor for the industrially relevant aroma chemical (-)-menthol. The unsaturated aldehyde citral consists of the two isomers neral (Z-isomer) and geranial (E-isomer). Enantioconvergent reduction of both substrates to (R)-citronellal, the precursor for (-) menthol, is so far unachieved in catalysis. However, the Zymomonas mobilis ene reductase NCR exclusively reduces both citral isomers to (S)-citronellal with good activity. Recently, we observed a good mutability in NCR ene reductase. The principal possibility of an enzymatic enantioconvergent citral reduction in NCR inspired us to invert the selectivity by a semi-rational enzyme engineering approach.

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