The fungal L-arabinose pathway consists of five enzymes, aldose reductase, L-arabinitol 4-dehydrogenase, L-xylulose reductase, xylitol dehydrogenase, and xylulokinase. All the genes encoding the enzymes of this pathway are known except for that of L-xylulose reductase (EC 18.104.22.168). We identified a gene encoding this enzyme from the filamentous fungus Trichoderma reesei (Hypocreajecorina). The gene was named lxf1. It was overexpressed in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and the enzyme activity was confirmed in a yeast cell extract. Overexpression of all enzymes of the L-arabinose pathway in S. cerevisiae led to growth of S. cerevisiae on L-arabinose; i.e., we could show that the pathway is active in a heterologous host. The lxr1 gene encoded a protein with 266 amino acids and a calculated molecular mass of 28 428 Da. The LXRI protein is an NADPH-specific reductase. It has activity with L-xylulose, D-xylulose, D-fructose, and L-sorbose. The highest affinity is toward L-xylulose (Km = 16 mM). In the reverse direction, we found activity with xylitol, D-arabinitol, D-mannitol, and D-sorbitol. It requires a bivalent cation for activity. It belongs to the protein family of short chain dehydrogenases. The enzyme is catalytically similar and homologous in sequence to a D-mannitol:NADP 2-dehydrogenase (EC 22.214.171.124).
- gene identification