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Steroid hydroxylation by basidiomycete peroxygenases: A combined experimental and computational study
Babot ED, del Río JC, Cañellas M, Sancho F, Lucas F, Guallar V, Kalum L, Lund H, Gröbe G, Scheibner K, Ullrich R, Hofrichter M, Martínez AT, Gutiérrez A

Appl. Environ. Microbiol., 81: 4130-4142, 10.1128/AEM.00660-15

The goal of this study is the selective oxyfunctionalization of steroids under mild and environmentally-friendly conditions using fungal enzymes. With this purpose, peroxygenases from three basidiomycete species were tested for hydroxylation of a variety of steroidal compounds, using H2O2 as the only cosubstrate. Two of them are wild-type enzymes from Agrocybe aegerita and Marasmius rotula, and the third one is a recombinant enzyme from Coprinopsis cinerea. The enzymatic reactions on free and esterified sterols, and steroid hydrocarbons and ketones were followed by gas chromatography, and the products were identified by mass spectrometry. Hydroxylation at the side chain over the steroidal rings was preferred, with the 25-hydroxyderivatives predominating (interestingly antiviral and other biological activities of 25-hydroxycholesterol have been recently reported). However, hydroxylation in the ring moiety and terminal hydroxylation at the side-chain was also observed in some steroids, the former favored by the absence of oxygenated groups at C3 and by the presence of conjugated double bonds in the rings. To understand the yield and selectivity differences between the different steroids, a computational study was performed using Protein Energy Landscape Exploration (PELE) software for dynamic ligand diffusion. These simulations showed that the active site geometry and hydrophobicity favors the entrance of the steroid side-chain, while the entrance of the ring is energetically penalized. Also, a direct correlation between the conversion rate and the side-chain entrance ratio could be established, that explains the varying reaction yields observed.

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