Arylmalonate decarboxylase (EC 184.108.40.206) catalyzes enantioselective decarboxylation of α-aryl-α-methylmalonates to give optically pure α-arylpropionates. Recently, we have succeeded in creating a double mutant enzyme that gave opposite enantionmer as the product. Unfortunately, however, the activity of the mutant decreased far lower than that of the native enzyme. Thus, we performed the directed evolution of the mutant via the random mutagenesis method employing the mutator strain Escherichia coli XL1-Red. About 50,000 mutants were screened on color assay plate, and one mutant with higher activity was obtained. Gene analysis of this mutant indicated that the obtained enzyme had an S36N mutation in addition to its original G74C/C188S mutations. The activity of the triple mutant enzyme was tenfold higher than that of the starting doubly mutated enzyme.
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