Features and technical applications of ω-transaminases

M. Shaheer Malik, Eul Soo Park, Jong Shik Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

160 Citations (Scopus)


Chiral amines in enantiopure forms are important chemical building blocks, which are most well recognized in the pharmaceutical industries for imparting desirable biological activity to chemical entities. A number of synthetic strategies to produce chiral amines via biocatalytic as well as chemical transformation have been developed. Recently, ω-transaminase (ω-TA) has attracted growing attention as a promising catalyst which provides an environment-friendly access to production of chiral amines with exquisite stereoselectivity and excellent catalytic turnover. To obtain enantiopure amines using ω-TAs, either kinetic resolution of racemic amines or asymmetric amination of achiral ketones is employed. The latter is usually preferred because of twofold higher yield and no requirement of conversion of a ketone product back to racemic amine. However, the choice of a production process depends on several factors such as reaction equilibrium, substrate reactivity, enzyme inhibition, and commercial availability of substrates. This review summarizes the biochemical features of ω-TA, including reaction chemistry, substrate specificity, and active site structure, and then introduces recent advances in expanding the scope of ω-TA reaction by protein engineering and public database searching. We also address crucial factors to be considered for the development of efficient ω-TA processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1163-1171
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jun

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements This work was supported by the Advanced Biomass R&D Center (ABC-2010-0029737) and the Basic Science Research Program (2010–0024448) through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. M. Shaheer Malik was partially supported by the Yonsei University Research Fund (2011-7-0021).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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