During adaptive metabolic evolution a native glycerol dehydrogenase (GDH) acquired a d‐lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity. Two active‐site amino acid changes were detected in the altered protein. Biochemical studies along with comparative structure analysis using an X‐ray crystallographic structure model of the protein with the two different amino acids allowed prediction of pyruvate binding into the active site. We propose that the F245S alteration increased the capacity of the glycerol binding site and facilitated hydrogen bonding between the S245 γ‐O and the C1 carboxylate of pyruvate. To our knowledge, this is the first GDH to gain LDH activity due to an active site amino acid change, a desired result of in vivo enzyme evolution.
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