A new cytochrome P450 system from Bacillus megaterium DSM319 for the hydroxylation of 11-keto-β-boswellic acid (KBA)

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2014 Feb;98(4):1701-17. doi: 10.1007/s00253-013-5029-0. Epub 2013 Jun 25.


In the genome of Bacillus megaterium DSM319, a strain who has recently been sequenced to fully exploit its potential for biotechnological purposes, we identified a gene encoding the cytochrome P450 CYP106A1 as well as genes encoding potential redox partners of CYP106A1. We cloned, expressed, and purified CYP106A1 and five potential autologous redox partners, one flavodoxin and four ferredoxins. The flavodoxin and three ferredoxins were able to support the activity of CYP106A1 displaying the first cloned natural redox partners of a cytochrome P450 from B. megaterium. The CYP106A1 system was able to convert the pentacyclic triterpene 11-keto-β-boswellic acid (KBA) belonging to the main bioactive constituents of Boswellia serrata gum resin extracts, which are used to treat inflammatory disorders and arthritic diseases. In order to provide sufficient amounts of the KBA products to characterize them structurally by NMR spectroscopy, recombinant whole-cell biocatalysts were constructed based on B. megaterium MS941. The main product has been identified as 7β-hydroxy-KBA, while the side product (∼20%) was shown to be a mixture of 7β,15α-dihydroxy-KBA and 15α-hydroxy-KBA. Without further optimization 560.7 mg l⁻¹ day⁻¹ of the main product, 7β-hydroxy-KBA, could be obtained thus providing a suitable starting point for the efficient production of modified KBA by chemical tailoring to produce novel KBA derivatives with increased bioavailability and this way more efficient drugs.

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus megaterium / enzymology*
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism*
  • Hydroxylation
  • Triterpenes / metabolism*


  • 11-keto-boswellic acid
  • Triterpenes
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System