• catalytic promiscuity;
  • enzyme catalysis;
  • epoxidation;
  • hydrolases;
  • molecular dynamics


Candida antarctica lipase B (CALB) is a promiscuous serine hydrolase that, besides its native function, catalyzes different side reactions, such as direct epoxidation. A single-point mutant of CALB demonstrated a direct epoxidation reaction mechanism for the epoxidation of α,β-unsaturated aldehydes by hydrogen peroxide in aqueous and organic solution. Mutation of the catalytically active Ser105 to alanine made the previously assumed indirect epoxidation reaction mechanism impossible. Gibbs free energies, activation parameters, and substrate selectivities were determined both computationally and experimentally. The energetics and mechanism for the direct epoxidation in CALB Ser105Ala were investigated by density functional theory calculations, and it was demonstrated that the reaction proceeds through a two step-mechanism with formation of an oxyanionic intermediate. The active-site residue His224 functions as a general acid-base catalyst with support from Asp187. Oxyanion stabilization is facilitated by two hydrogen bonds from Thr40.