Cloning, characterization, and engineering of fungal L-arabinitol dehydrogenases

Byoungjin Kim, Ryan P. Sullivan, Huimin Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


L-Arabinitol 4-dehydrogenase (LAD) catalyzes the conversion of L-arabinitol to L-xylulose with concomitant NAD+ reduction in fungal L-arabinose catabolism. It is an important enzyme in the development of recombinant organisms that convert L-arabinose to fuels and chemicals. Here, we report the cloning, characterization, and engineering of four fungal LADs from Penicillium chrysogenum, Pichia guilliermondii, Aspergillus niger, and Trichoderma longibrachiatum, respectively. The LAD from P. guilliermondii was inactive, while the other three LADs were NAD+-dependent and showed high catalytic activities, with P. chrysogenum LAD being the most active. T. longibrachiatum LAD was the most thermally stable and showed the maximum activity in the temperature range of 55-65°C with the other LADs showed the maximum activity in the temperature range of 40-50°C. These LADs were active from pH 7 to 11 with an optimal pH of 9.4. Site-directed mutagenesis was used to alter the cofactor specificity of these LADs. In a T. longibrachiatum LAD mutant, the cofactor preference toward NADP+ was increased by 2.5×104-fold, whereas the cofactor preference toward NADP + of the P. chrysogenum and A. niger LAD mutants was also drastically improved, albeit at the expense of significantly reduced catalytic efficiencies. The wild-type LADs and their mutants with altered cofactor specificity could be used to investigate the functionality of the fungal L-arabinose pathways in the development of recombinant organisms for efficient microbial L-arabinose utilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1407-1414
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Alcohol dehydrogenase
  • Arabinose fermentation
  • Cofactor specificity
  • Ethanol production
  • Xylitol production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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