Structure-Based Engineering of CYP105AS1 for the Production of High-Value Molecules

  • Mark Ashworth

Student thesis: Phd


Biocatalysis represents an attractive route to the production of various compounds which are difficult or impossible to synthesise and isolate using traditional chemical synthesis. In particular, the production of chiral molecules is a function ideally suited to biocatalysis, due to the natural stereospecificity of enzymes. The synthesis of such chiral molecules is essential in the production of pharmaceuticals, additives for the food and drinks industry and the creation of specialist polymers. CYP105AS1, isolated from Amycolatopsis orientalis, is a cytochrome P450 enzyme which produces the inactive 6-epi-pravastatin of the blockbuster anti-cholesterol drug pravastatin. Previous directed evolution efforts have engineered this enzyme to produce a five-point mutant, known as P450prava, which partially reversed the stereospecificity of the enzyme to produce a majority pravastatin product mixture. This thesis details work to use structure-led engineering approaches to redesign the active site of P450prava to introduce stringent stereospecificity. A combinatorial approach of manual and computational rational design was pursued, leading to the creation of a novel T95F/V180M double mutant of P450prava. This double mutant was found to have successfully eliminated the unwanted 6-epi-pravastatin enantiomer from the product mix, leaving a pure pravastatin product. P450prava was also shown to bind and hydroxylate other statin substrate molecules, demonstrating its versatility in the production of drug metabolites and other high-value oxyfunctionalised molecules. This property, along with its proven tolerance of significant active site engineering efforts, demonstrates the viability of the P450prava as a platform for the creation of novel biocatalysts for the production of various hydroxylated products from diverse substrate molecules.
Date of Award1 Aug 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorAndrew Munro (Supervisor) & David Leys (Supervisor)


  • Synthetic biology
  • CYP105AS1
  • Cytochrome P450
  • Statins
  • Biotechnology
  • Pravastatin
  • Biocatalysis
  • Computational enzyme design
  • Enzyme engineering
  • Protein engineering
  • Enantioselectivity

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