Congratulations to Alexandra Weingartner for her successful PhD defense!
We are pleased to announce that our PhD fellow Alexandra Weingartner graduated on the 7th of December in presence of family, friends, and fellow colleagues.
Her work is entitled “Directed Evolution of the Monooxygenase P450 BM3 for aromatic hydroxylation”.
Alexandra engineered the well-known monooxygenase P450 BM3 towards production of 2,3,5-trimethylhydroquinone (TMHQ), which is an intermediate of the vitamin E synthesis. To achieve this, she developed the 4-nitrophenylacetonitrile (NpCN) assay, which specifically reacts to a chromogenic complex in the presence of hydroquinones. Application of the new assay system for P450 BM3 libraries resulted in a strongly improved P450 BM3 variant AW2, which showed 70-fold improved TMHQ formation compared to the P450 BM3 wild type as well as increased coupling efficiency and regioselectivity.
In addition, molecular docking studies of the newly identified variant AW2 allowed to gain more insights into the impact of substitutions on the orientation of small aromates in the binding pocket of P450 BM3. Alexandra’s great scientific achievements in the field of directed evolution of P450 BM3 was published in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. Additionally, Alexandra worked on aromatic hydroxylation of pseudocumene and mesitylene with engineered P450 BM3 variants and a whole cell cascade for double oxidation of cyclooctane to cyclooctanone, which were published in Chemistry – A European Journal and Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, respectively.
Alexandra worked in the division of Molecular Bioeconomy under the supervision of Dr. Anna Joelle Ruff.
The whole Schwaneberg group congratulates Alexandra for her achievement and wishes all the best for her future.
Well done, Alex!