Aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylases: mechanistic features and microbial applications

Sang Woo Han, Jong Shik Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Abstract: Aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylases (AADCs) catalyze the conversion of aromatic L-amino acids into aromatic monoamines that play diverse physiological and biosynthetic roles in living organisms. For example, dopamine and serotonin serve as major neurotransmitters in animals, whereas tryptamine and tyramine are essential building blocks for synthesizing a myriad of secondary metabolites in plants. In contrast to the vital biological roles of AADCs in higher organisms, microbial AADCs are found in rather a limited range of microorganisms. For example, lactic acid bacteria are known to employ AADCs to achieve intracellular pH homeostasis and engender accumulation of tyramine, causing a toxic effect in fermented foods. Owing to the crucial pharmaceutical implications of aromatic monoamines and their derivatives, synthetic applications of AADCs have attracted growing attention. Besides, recent studies have uncovered that AADCs of human gut microbes influence host physiology and are involved in drug availability of Parkinson’s disease medication. These findings bring the bacterial AADCs into a new arena of extensive research for biomedical applications. Here, we review catalytic features of AADCs and present microbial applications and challenges for biotechnological exploitation of AADCs. Key points: • Aromatic monoamines and their derivatives are increasingly important in the drug industry. • Aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylases are the only enzyme for synthesizing aromatic monoamines. • Microbial applications of aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylases have drawn growing attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4445-4458
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jun

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Korea government (MSIT) (Grant No. 2021R1A2C2013069). S.-W. Han was financially supported by Initiative for Biological Function & Systems under the BK21 PLUS program of Korean Ministry of Education.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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