Dimethylformamide is a novel nitrilase inducer in Rhodococcus rhodochrous
Nitrilases are of commercial interest in the selective synthesis of carboxylic acids from nitriles. Nitrilase induction was achieved here in three bacterial strains through the incorporation of a previously unrecognised and inexpensive nitrilase inducer, dimethylformamide (DMF), during cultivation of two Rhodococcus rhodochrous strains (ATCC BAA-870 and PPPPB BD-1780), as well as a closely related organism (Pimelobacter simplex PPPPB BD-1781). Benzonitrile, a known nitrilase inducer, was ineffective in these strains. Biocatalytic product profiling, enzyme inhibition studies and protein sequencing were performed to distinguish the nitrilase activity from that of sequential nitrile hydratase-amidase activity. The expressed enzyme, a 40-kDa protein with high sequence similarity to nitrilase protein Uniprot Q-03217, hydrolyzed 3-cyanopyridine to produce nicotinic acid exclusively in strains BD-1780 and BD-1781. These strains were capable of synthesising both the vitamin nicotinic acid as well as β-amino acids, a compound class of pharmaceutical interest. The induced nitrilase demonstrated high enantioselectivity (> 99%) in the hydrolysis of 3-amino-3-phenylpropanenitrile to the corresponding carboxylic acid.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00253-018-9367-9