Heme-iron oxygenases: powerful industrial biocatalysts?

Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2008 Apr;12(2):177-86. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2008.01.029. Epub 2008 Mar 4.


Are cytochrome P450 enzymes powerful industrial biocatalysts? Next to market demands, well-defined enzyme functionalities and process parameters allow generalizations on the basis of process windows. These can provide useful guidelines for the design of improved biocatalysts. Oxygenase-catalyzed reactions are of special interest for selective C-H bond oxidation. The versatile class of cytochrome P450 mono-oxygenases attracts particular attention, and impressive advances have been achieved with respect to mechanistic insight, enzyme activity, stability, and specificity. Recent major achievements include significant increases in productivities, yields, and rates of catalytic turnover as well as modification of substrate specificity and efficient multistep reactions in whole-cell biocatalysts. For some biocatalysts, these parameters are already of an industrially useful magnitude.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biotechnology / methods*
  • Catalysis
  • Chemical Industry / methods*
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Protein Engineering


  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System