The synthesis of terpenoid glycosides typically uses a chemical strategy since few biocatalysts have been identified that recognise these scaffolds. In this study, a platform of 107 recombinant glycosyltransferases (GTs), comprising the multigene family of small molecule GTs of Arabidopsis thaliana have been screened against a range of model terpenoid acceptors to identify those enzymes with high activity. Twenty-seven GiTs are shown to glycosylate a diversity of mono-, sesqui- and diterpenes, such as geraniol, perillyl alcohol, artemisinic acid and retinoic acid. Certain enzymes showing substantial sequence similarity recognise terpenoids containing a primary alcohol, irrespective of the linear or cyclical structure of the scaffold; other GTs glycosylate scaffolds containing secondary and tertiary alcohols; the carboxyl group of other terpenoids also represents a feature that is recognized by GTs previously known to form glucose esters with many different compounds. These data underpin the rapid prediction of potential biocatalysts from GT sequence information. To explore the potential of GTs as biocatalysts, their use for the production of terpenoid glycosides was investigated by using a microbial-based whole-cell biotransformation system capable of regenerating the cofactor, UDP-glucose. A high cell density fermentation system was shown to produce several hundred milligrams of a model terpenoid, geranyl-glucoside. The activities of the GTs are discussed in relation to their substrate recognition and their utility in biotransformations as a complement or alternative to chemical synthesis.
- ARABIDOPSIS GLYCOSYLTRANSFERASES
- CHEMOENZYMATIC SYNTHESIS