Engineering aldo-keto reductase 1B10 to mimic the distinct 1B15 topology and specificity towards inhibitors and substrates, including retinoids and steroids

Joan Giménez-Dejoz, Susanne Weber, Álvaro Fernández-Pardo, Gabriele Möller, Jerzy Adamski, Sergio Porté, Xavier Parés, Jaume Farrés

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The aldo-keto reductase (AKR)superfamily comprises NAD(P)H-dependent enzymes that catalyze the reduction of a variety of carbonyl compounds. AKRs are classified in families and subfamilies. Humans exhibit three members of the AKR1B subfamily: AKR1B1 (aldose reductase, participates in diabetes complications), AKR1B10 (overexpressed in several cancer types), and the recently described AKR1B15. AKR1B10 and AKR1B15 share 92% sequence identity, as well as the capability of being active towards retinaldehyde. However, AKR1B10 and AKR1B15 exhibit strong differences in substrate specificity and inhibitor selectivity. Remarkably, their substrate-binding sites are the most divergent parts between them. Out of 27 residue substitutions, six are changes to Phe residues in AKR1B15. To investigate the participation of these structural changes, especially the Phe substitutions, in the functional features of each enzyme, we prepared two AKR1B10 mutants. The AKR1B10 m mutant carries a segment of six AKR1B15 residues (299–304, including three Phe residues)in the respective AKR1B10 region. An additional substitution (Val48Phe)was incorporated in the second mutant, AKR1B10mF48. This resulted in structures with smaller and more hydrophobic binding pockets, more similar to that of AKR1B15. In general, the AKR1B10 mutants mirrored well the specific functional features of AKR1B15, i.e., the different preferences towards the retinaldehyde isomers, the much higher activity with steroids and ketones, and the unique behavior with inhibitors. It can be concluded that the Phe residues of loop C (299–304)contouring the substrate-binding site, in addition to Phe at position 48, strongly contribute to a narrower and more hydrophobic site in AKR1B15, which would account for its functional uniqueness. In addition, we have investigated the AKR1B10 and AKR1B15 activity toward steroids. While AKR1B10 only exhibits residual activity, AKR1B15 is an efficient 17-ketosteroid reductase. Finally, the functional role of AKR1B15 in steroid and retinaldehyde metabolism is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-194
Number of pages9
JournalChemico-Biological Interactions
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • Enzyme kinetics
  • Inhibition
  • Retinaldehyde
  • Site-directed mutagenesis
  • Steroids


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