Biotechnology Letters, Vol.43, No.8, 1617-1624, 2021
Switching the secondary and natural activity of Nitrilase from Acidovorax facilis 72 W for the efficient production of 2-picolinamide
Objectives Catalytic promiscuity, or the ability to catalyze a secondary reaction, provides new opportunities for industrial biocatalysis by expanding the range of biocatalytic reactions. Some nitrilases converting nitriles to amides, referred to as the secondary activity, show great potential for amides production. And our goal was exploiting the amide-forming potential of nitrilases. Results In this study, we characterized and altered the secondary activity of nitrilase from Acidovorax facilis 72 W (Nit72W) towards different substrates. We increased the secondary activity of Nit72W towards 2-cyanopyridine by 196-fold and created activity toward benzonitrile and p-nitrophenylacetonitrile by modifying the active pocket. Surprisingly, the best mutant, W188M, completely converted 250 mM 2-cyanopyridine to more than 98% 2-picolinamide in 12 h with a specific activity of 90 U/mg and showed potential for industrial applications. Conclusions Nit72W was modified to increase its secondary activity for the amides production, especially 2-picolinamide.