The production of chiral amines by transaminase-catalyzed amination of ketones is an important application of biocatalysis in synthetic chemistry. It requires transaminases that show high enantioselectivity in asymmetric conversion of the ketone precursors. A robust derivative of ω-transaminase from Pseudomonas jessenii (PjTA-R6) that naturally acts on aliphatic substrates was constructed previously by our group. Here, we explore the catalytic potential of this thermostable enzyme for the synthesis of optically pure aliphatic amines and compare it to the well-studied transaminases from Vibrio fluvialis (Vf TA) and Chromobacterium violaceum (CvTA). The product yields indicated improved performance of PjTA-R6 over the other transaminases, and in most cases, the optical purity of the produced amine was above 99% enantiomeric excess (e.e.). Structural analysis revealed that the substrate binding poses were influenced and restricted by the switching arginine and that this accounted for differences in substrate specificities. Rosetta docking calculations with external aldimine structures showed a correlation between docking scores and synthetic yields. The results show that PjTA-R6 is a promising biocatalyst for the asymmetric synthesis of aliphatic amines with a product spectrum that can be explained by its structural features.
- Asymmetric synthesis
- Computational modeling