Background Biocatalysts that can perform stereo- and regioselective hydroxylation of steroids are of great interest, since these molecules are among the most strongly marketed compounds of the pharmaceutical industry. Especially the human metabolites 16-ß-OH-Testosterone and Androstendion are desired products, as they have a wide application as food, dietary supplements and medical products or in terms of diagnostics. Testosterone can be metabolized by various human microsomal cytochrome P450 systems to the corresponding 16-ß-OH metabolite. So far, these enzymes are not capable of a regio- and stereoselective hydroxylation of testosterone. More than that, mammalian P450 systems are characterized by low stability and activity as well as an unpleasant expression level when compared to bacterial P450 systems. Invention Biochemists and pharmaceutical biologists of Saarland University have developed an effective recombinant biotransformation system based on a Bacillus megaterium strain that is capable of performing both stereo- and regioselective hydroxylation of non-activated carbon atoms of testosterone giving rise to 16-ß-OH-Testosterone in one step. The biocatalyst can further be applied in the synthesis of Androstendion using testosterone as a starting material. Advantages Very fast and cost-efficient synthesis of steroid derivatives One step transformation of testosterone into 16-ß-OH testosterone No side products High yield
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