Improving biocatalyst performance by integrating statistical methods into protein engineering

Moran Brouk, Yuval Nov, A. Fishman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Directed evolution and rational design were used to generate active variants of toluene-4-monooxygenase (T4MO) on 2-phenylethanol time-consuming.Therefore, the statistical model of Nov and Wein (J. Comput. Biol. 12:247-282) was used to reduce the number of variants produced and evaluated in a lab. From an initial data set of 24 variants, with mutations at nine positions, seven double or triple mutants were identified through statistical analysis. The average activity of these mutants was 4.6-fold higher than the average activity of the initial data set. In an attempt to further improve the enzyme activity to obtain PEA hydroxylation, a second round of statistical nalysis was performed. Nine variants were considered, with 3, 4, and 5 point mutations. The average activity of the variants obtained in the second statistical round was 1.6-fold higher than in the first round and 7.3-fold higher than that of the initial data set. The best variant discovered, TmoAI100A E214G D285Q, exhibited an initial oxidation rate of 4.4 ± 0.3 nmol/min/mg protein, which is 190-fold higher than the rate obtained by thewild type. This rate was also 2.6-fold higher than the activity of the wildtype on the natural substrate toluene. By considering only 16 preselected mutants (out of ∼13,000 possible combinations), a highly active variant was discovered with minimum time and effort.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6397-6403
Number of pages7
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Ecology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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