Classification, substrate specificity and structural features of D-2-hydroxyacid dehydrogenases: 2HADH knowledgebase

BMC Evol Biol. 2018 Dec 22;18(1):199. doi: 10.1186/s12862-018-1309-8.


Background: The family of D-isomer specific 2-hydroxyacid dehydrogenases (2HADHs) contains a wide range of oxidoreductases with various metabolic roles as well as biotechnological applications. Despite a vast amount of biochemical and structural data for various representatives of the family, the long and complex evolution and broad sequence diversity hinder functional annotations for uncharacterized members.

Results: We report an in-depth phylogenetic analysis, followed by mapping of available biochemical and structural data on the reconstructed phylogenetic tree. The analysis suggests that some subfamilies comprising enzymes with similar yet broad substrate specificity profiles diverged early in the evolution of 2HADHs. Based on the phylogenetic tree, we present a revised classification of the family that comprises 22 subfamilies, including 13 new subfamilies not studied biochemically. We summarize characteristics of the nine biochemically studied subfamilies by aggregating all available sequence, biochemical, and structural data, providing comprehensive descriptions of the active site, cofactor-binding residues, and potential roles of specific structural regions in substrate recognition. In addition, we concisely present our analysis as an online 2HADH enzymes knowledgebase.

Conclusions: The knowledgebase enables navigation over the 2HADHs classification, search through collected data, and functional predictions of uncharacterized 2HADHs. Future characterization of the new subfamilies may result in discoveries of enzymes with novel metabolic roles and with properties beneficial for biotechnological applications.

Keywords: D-isomer specific 2-hydroxyacid dehydrogenases; Molecular evolution; Sequence-structure-function relationship; Substrate promiscuity; Substrate specificity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases / chemistry*
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases / classification*
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Coenzymes / metabolism
  • Knowledge Bases*
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Phylogeny
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Coenzymes
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases
  • D-2-hydroxyacid dehydrogenase