Alcohol dehydrogenase of acetic acid bacteria: structure, mode of action, and applications in biotechnology

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2010 May;86(5):1257-65. doi: 10.1007/s00253-010-2529-z. Epub 2010 Mar 20.


Pyrroquinoline quinone-dependent alcohol dehydrogenase (PQQ-ADH) of acetic acid bacteria is a membrane-bound enzyme involved in the acetic acid fermentation by oxidizing ethanol to acetaldehyde coupling with reduction of membranous ubiquinone (Q), which is, in turn, re-oxidized by ubiquinol oxidase, reducing oxygen to water. PQQ-ADHs seem to have co-evolved with the organisms fitting to their own habitats. The enzyme consists of three subunits and has a pyrroloquinoline quinone, 4 heme c moieties, and a tightly bound Q as the electron transfer mediators. Biochemical, genetic, and electrochemical studies have revealed the unique properties of PQQ-ADH since it was purified in 1978. The enzyme is unique to have ubiquinol oxidation activity in addition to Q reduction. This mini-review focuses on the molecular properties of PQQ-ADH, such as the roles of the subunits and the cofactors, particularly in intramolecular electron transport of the enzyme from ethanol to Q. Also, we summarize biotechnological applications of PQQ-ADH as to enantiospecific oxidations for production of the valuable chemicals and bioelectrocatalysis for sensors and fuel cells using indirect and direct electron transfer technologies and discuss unsolved issues and future prospects related to this elaborate enzyme.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetic Acid / metabolism*
  • Alcohols / metabolism
  • Bacteria / enzymology*
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Bioelectric Energy Sources
  • Biosensing Techniques
  • Biotechnology
  • Carbohydrate Dehydrogenases / chemistry
  • Carbohydrate Dehydrogenases / genetics
  • Carbohydrate Dehydrogenases / metabolism*
  • Catalysis
  • Forecasting
  • Heme / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Protein Subunits / metabolism
  • Quinones / metabolism
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Ubiquinone / metabolism


  • Alcohols
  • Protein Subunits
  • Quinones
  • Ubiquinone
  • Heme
  • Carbohydrate Dehydrogenases
  • aldose dehydrogenase (pyrroloquinoline-quinone)
  • Acetic Acid