Cytochrome P450 enzymes (P450s) are able to regioselectively and stereoselectively introduce oxygen into organic compounds under mild reaction conditions. These monooxygenases in particular easily catalyze the insertion of oxygen into less reactive carbon-hydrogen bonds. Hence, P450s are of considerable interest as oxidation biocatalysts. To date, although several P450s have been discovered through screening of microorganisms and have been further genetically engineered, the substrate range of these biocatalysts is still limited to fulfill the requirements for a large number of oxidation processes. On the other hand, the recent rapid expansion in the number of reported microbial genome sequences has revealed the presence of an unexpectedly vast number of P450 genes. This large pool of naturally evolved P450s has attracted much attention as a resource for new oxidation biocatalysts. In this review, we focus on aspects of the genome mining approach that are relevant for the discovery of novel P450 biocatalysts. This approach opens up possibilities for exploitation of the catalytic potential of P450s for the preparation of a large choice of oxidation biocatalysts with a variety of substrate specificities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas