If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



Biocatalytic cofactor recycled efficiently

Process could reduce cost of making NADP+ by more than five orders of magnitude

by Stu Borman
January 9, 2017 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 95, Issue 2

Oxidoreductase enzymes are used extensively as biocatalysts for industrial and academic reactions, including pharmaceutical synthesis. But they almost exclusively require expensive cofactors such as NADP+, the oxidized form of the biological cofactor nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate. The reagent currently costs about $22,000 per mole. Enzymes that can recycle it from its reduced form, NADPH, have drawbacks that have limited their use, such as low activity, unwanted by-product generation, and short lifetimes. Guided by nature, which uses an NADP+-producing glutathione reductase system to maintain a reducing environment within cells, researchers have now developed a similar system for regenerating NADP+ from NADPH. Rudolf K. Allemann of Cardiff University and coworkers devised the system, which uses an organic-disulfide oxidizing agent and bacterial glutaredoxin and glutathione reductase to regenerate NADP+ (ACS Catal. 2016, DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.6b03061). The primary recurrent cost is for the inexpensive organic disulfides, so the process could reduce the price of NADP+ to about $0.05 per mole, a more than five-order-of-magnitude improvement. The system, which “is superior to all existing methods” for regenerating NADP+, “offers many advantages for commercial and academic users,” the researchers say.

Reaction scheme shows how new system uses bacterial enzymes and an organic disulfide to recycle NADP+ economically.
Credit: ACS Catal.
A new system uses bacterial enzymes and an organic disulfide to recycle NADP+ economically.


This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.