Enzyme and Microbial Technology 140 , 109623 (Oct 1 2020)
myo-Inositol oxygenase (Miox) is a rate-limiting enzyme for glucaric acid production via microbial fermentation. The enzyme converts myo-inositol to glucuronate, which is further converted to glucaric acid, a natural compound with industrial uses that range from detergents to pharmaceutical synthesis to polymeric materials. More than 2,000 Miox sequences are available in the Uniprot database but only thirteen are classified as reviewed in Swiss-Prot (August 2019). In this study, sequence similarity networks were used to identify new homologues to be expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae for glucaric acid production. The expression of four homologues did not lead to product formation. Some of these enzymes may have a defective “dynamic lid” – a structural feature important to close the reaction site – which might explain the lack of activity. Thirty-one selected Miox sequences did allow for product formation, of which twenty-five were characterized for the first time. Expression of Talaromyces marneffei Miox led to the accumulation of 1.76 ± 0.33 g glucaric acid/L from 20 g glucose/L and 10 g/L myo-inositol. Specific glucaric acid titer with TmMiox increased 44 % compared to the often-used Arabidopsis thaliana variant AtMiox4 (0.258 vs. 0.179 g glucaric acid/g biomass). AtMiox4 activity decreased from 12.47 to 0.40 nmol/min/mg protein when cells exited exponential phase during growth on glucose, highlighting the importance of future research on Miox stability in order to further improve microbial production of glucaric acid.