Rational design of resveratrol o-methyltransferase for the production of pinostilbene

Daniela P. Herrera, Andrea M. Chánique, Ascensión Martínez-Márquez, Roque Bru-Martínez, Robert Kourist, Loreto P. Parra*, Andreas Schüller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pinostilbene is a monomethyl ether analog of the well-known nutraceutical resveratrol. Both compounds have health-promoting properties, but the latter undergoes rapid metabolization and has low bioavailability. O-methylation improves the stability and bioavailability of resveratrol. In plants, these reactions are performed by O-methyltransferases (OMTs). Few efficient OMTs that monomethylate resveratrol to yield pinostilbene have been described so far. Here, we report the engineering of a resveratrol OMT from Vitis vinifera (VvROMT), which has the highest catalytic efficiency in di-methylating resveratrol to yield pterostilbene. In the absence of a crystal structure, we constructed a three-dimensional protein model of VvROMT and identified four critical binding site residues by applying different in silico approaches. We performed point mutations in these positions generating W20A, F24A, F311A, and F318A variants, which greatly reduced resveratrol’s enzymatic conversion. Then, we rationally designed eight variants through comparison of the binding site residues with other stilbene OMTs. We successfully modified the native substrate selectivity of VvROMT. Variant L117F/F311W showed the highest conversion to pinostilbene, and variant L117F presented an overall increase in enzymatic activity. Our results suggest that VvROMT has potential for the tailor-made production of stilbenes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4345
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021


  • Enzyme engineering
  • O-methyltransferases
  • Pinostilbene
  • Protein models
  • Stilbenes
  • Substrate selectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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