Alcohol dehydrogenases catalyse the conversion of a large variety of ketone substrates to the corresponding chiral products. Due to their high regio- and stereospecificity, they are key components in a wide range of industrial applications. A novel alcohol dehydrogenase from Comamonas testosteroni (CtADH) was identified in silico, recombinantly expressed and purified, enzymatically and biochemically investigated as well as structurally characterized. These studies revealed a broad pH profile and an extended substrate spectrum with the highest activity for compounds containing halogens as substituents and a moderate activity for bulky–bulky ketones. Biotransformations with selected ketones—performed with a coupled regeneration system for the co-substrate NADPH—resulted in conversions of more than 99% with all tested substrates and with excellent enantioselectivity for the corresponding S-alcohol products. CtADH/NADPH/substrate complexes modelled on the basis of crystal structures of CtADH and its closest homologue suggested preliminary hints to rationalize the enzyme’s substrate preferences.
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