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Thermostable transaminases for the synthesis of pharmaceutical building blocks (HOTRAM)
Start date: Mar 1, 2014, End date: Feb 29, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Biocatalysis is considered a key component for the development of a sustainable chemistry in Europe by the European Commission, CEFIC and Biotech Industries Association. Indeed, the use of enzymes as biocatalysts in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries has been constantly growing in the last years.Aim of this project is to screen and obtain novel thermostable omega-Transaminases (TAs) from the metagenomes of (hyper)thermophiles. Furthermore, the novel TAs will be characterized and their biocatalytical application will be investigated.TAs catalyze enantioselective reductive amination reactions of ketones and represent an attractive option for the synthesis of chiral amines, valuable building blocks for the synthesis of several pharmaceutical compounds.In the respect of other enzyme classes, the array of available TAs is still very restricted. The search of novel TAs will provide suitable biocatalysts for the industrial development of a larger set of synthetic processes.The overall concept of this project is to exploit metagenomics for the discovery of a new generation of thermostable TAs from the hot terrestrial environments.The complementarity of the skills provided by the Applicant and the Host will ensure the success of the project. In fact, the Host is an expert in metagenomic studies and has already an in-house collection of environmental samples from various geothermal regions of the world available for library preparation. On the other side, the Applicant has a 7-years proved experience in applied biocatalysis, acquired by joining the Biocatalysis group at ICRM-CNR (Milan, Italy), one of the world leading research groups in the field. This experience will be exploited for the characterization and development of the novel biocatalysts.It must be pointed out that the project will have a strong impact on the applicant's career. In fact, the skills acquired during this experience will enhance her possibility to achieve a permanent position at ICRM-CNR

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