Current research

Aspergillus flavus UstD is an aspartate  β-decarboxylase responsible for the conversion of an aldehyde precursor into the γ-hydroxy amino acid natural product Ustiloxin B.  This unique reactivity provides potential easy access to a wide variety of non-canonical amino acids.  We have successfully expressed and purified UstD via heterologous expression with modest catalyst yields, and have begun exploring the substrate scope of UstD with great success thus far.  Protein engineering efforts have also afforded activated variants, providing a promising future for UstD as a versatile and efficient biocatalyst.