Perakine reductase (PR) catalyzes an NADPH-dependent step in a side-branch of the 10-step biosynthetic pathway of the alkaloid ajmaline. The enzyme was cloned by a “reverse-genetic” approach from cell suspension cultures of the plant Rauvolfia serpentina (Apocynaceae) and functionally expressed in Escherichia coli as the N-terminal His6-tagged protein. PR displays a broad substrate acceptance, converting 16 out of 28 tested compounds with reducible carbonyl function which belong to three substrate groups: benzaldehyde, cinnamic aldehyde derivatives and monoterpenoid indole alkaloids. The enzyme has an extraordinary selectivity in the group of alkaloids. Sequence alignments define PR as a new member of the aldo-keto reductase (AKR) super family, exhibiting the conserved catalytic tetrad Asp52, Tyr57, Lys84, His126. Site-directed mutagenesis of each of these functional residues to an alanine residue results in >97.8% loss of enzyme activity, in compounds of each substrate group. PR represents the first example of the large AKR-family which is involved in the biosynthesis of plant monoterpenoid indole alkaloids. In addition to a new esterase, PR significantly extends the Rauvolfia alkaloid network to the novel group of peraksine alkaloids.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 13, 2008
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