Biocatalytic cascade reactions have become increasingly important and useful for chemical synthesis. However, biocatalysts are often incompatible with organic solvents, which prohibits many cascade reactions involving nonpolar substrates. In this study, we used cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) to express enzymes in an aqueous-organic biphasic system for the construction of an artificial enzymatic pathway. CFPS-expressed enzymes without purification performed efficiently to convert styrene (below 20 mM) to (S)-1-phenyl-1,2-ethanediol (two steps in one pot) with 100% conversion. In addition, our CFPS system showed great tolerance to different organic solvents, and, importantly, the entire biocatalytic system can be consistently scaled up without a reduction of the substrate conversion rate. We, therefore, anticipate that our cell-free approach will make a possible cost-effective, high-yielding synthesis of valuable chemicals.
- biphasic system
- cascade reaction
- cell-free protein synthesis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology