BACKGROUND: Liquid lipases are widely used to convert oil into biodiesel. Methanol-resistant lipases with high catalytic activity are the first choice for practical production. Rhizomucor miehei lipase (RML) is a single-chain α/β-type protein that is widely used in biodiesel preparation. Improving the catalytic activity and methanol tolerance of RML is necessary to realise the industrial production of biodiesel.
RESULTS: In this study, a semi-rational design method was used to optimise the catalytic activity and methanol tolerance of ProRML. After N-glycosylation modification of the α-helix of the mature peptide in ProRML, the resulting mutants N218, N93, N115, N260, and N183 increased enzyme activity by 66.81, 13.54, 10.33, 3.69, and 2.39 times than that of WT, respectively. The residual activities of N218 and N260 were 88.78% and 86.08% after incubation in 50% methanol for 2.5 h, respectively. In addition, the biodiesel yield of all mutants was improved when methanol was added once and reacted for 24 h with colza oil as the raw material. N260 and N218 increased the biodiesel yield from 9.49% to 88.75% and 90.46%, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that optimising N-glycosylation modification in the α-helix structure is an effective strategy for improving the performance of ProRML. This study provides an effective approach to improve the design of the enzyme and the properties of lipase mutants, thereby rendering them suitable for industrial biomass conversion.