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d-Aspartate oxidase: distribution, functions, properties, and biotechnological applications


Recently, substantial levels of acidic d-amino acids, such as d-aspartate and d-glutamate, have been identified in many organisms, from bacteria to mammals, suggesting that acidic d-amino acids have multiple physiological significances. Although acidic d-amino acids found in animals primarily originate from foodstuffs and/or bacteria, the d-aspartate-synthesizing enzyme aspartate racemase is identified in various animals. In eukaryotic organisms, acidic d-amino acids are primarily degraded by the flavoenzyme d-aspartate oxidase (DDO). DDO is found in multiple eukaryotic organisms and may play important roles in acidic d-amino acid utilization, elimination, and intracellular level regulation. Moreover, owing to its perfect enantioselectivity and stereoselectivity, DDO may be a valuable tool in several biotechnological applications, including the identification and quantification of acidic d-amino acids. In this mini-review, previous DDO reports are summarized and the potential bioengineering and biotechnological applications of DDO are discussed.

Key Points

Occurrence and distribution ofd-aspartate oxidase.

・Fundamental properties of d -aspartate oxidase of various eukaryotic organisms.

・Biotechnological applications and potential engineering ofd-aspartate oxidase.

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We thank Molla G. and Pollegioni L. at Università degli studi dell’Insubria for providing the image of the crystal structure of human DDO.


This study was supported by the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) (19K05765) to S. Takahashi from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

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Takahashi, S. d-Aspartate oxidase: distribution, functions, properties, and biotechnological applications. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol (2020).

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  • d-aspartate oxidase
  • Acidic d-amino acids
  • Flavoenzyme
  • Oxidoreductase
  • Applications