IUBMB Enzyme Nomenclature


Accepted name: (S)-hydroxynitrile lyase

Reaction: (1) an aliphatic (S)-hydroxynitrile = cyanide + an aliphatic aldehyde or ketone
(2) an aromatic (S)-hydroxynitrile = cyanide + an aromatic aldehyde

Other name(s): (S)-cyanohydrin producing hydroxynitrile lyase; (S)-oxynitrilase; (S)-HbHNL; (S)-MeHNL; hydroxynitrile lyase; oxynitrilase; HbHNL; MeHNL; (S)-selective hydroxynitrile lyase; (S)-cyanohydrin carbonyl-lyase (cyanide forming)

Systematic name: (S)-cyanohydrin lyase (cyanide forming)

Comments: Hydroxynitrile lyases catalyses the the cleavage of hydroxynitriles into cyanide and the corresponding aldehyde or ketone. In nature the liberation of cyanide serves as a defense mechanism against herbivores and microbial attack in plants. In vitro the enzymes from Manihot esculenta and Hevea brasiliensis accept a broad range of aliphatic and aromatic carbonyl compounds as substrates and catalyse the formation of (S)-hydroxynitriles [1,10].

Links to other databases: BRENDA, EXPASY, KEGG, Metacyc, PDB, CAS registry number:


1. Förster, S., Roos, J., Effenberger, F., Wajant, H. and Sprauer, A. The first recombinant hydroxynitrile lyase and its application in the synthesis of (S)-cyanohydrins. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 35 (1996) 437-439.

2. Bühler, H., Effenberger, F., Förster, S., Roos, J. and Wajant, H. Substrate specificity of mutants of the hydroxynitrile lyase from Manihot esculenta. Chembiochem. 4 (2003) 211-216. [PMID: 12616635]

3. Semba, H., Dobashi, Y. and Matsui, T. Expression of hydroxynitrile lyase from Manihot esculenta in yeast and its application in (S)-mandelonitrile production using an immobilized enzyme reactor. Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem. 72 (2008) 1457-1463. [PMID: 18540112]

4. Avi, M., Wiedner, R.M., Griengl, H. and Schwab, H. Improvement of a stereoselective biocatalytic synthesis by substrate and enzyme engineering: 2-hydroxy-(4'-oxocyclohexyl)acetonitrile as the model. Chemistry 14 (2008) 11415-11422. [PMID: 19006143]

5. von Langermann, J., Guterl, J.K., Pohl, M., Wajant, H. and Kragl, U. Hydroxynitrile lyase catalyzed cyanohydrin synthesis at high pH-values. Bioprocess Biosyst Eng 31 (2008) 155-161. [PMID: 18204865]

6. Schmidt, A., Gruber, K., Kratky, C. and Lamzin, V.S. Atomic resolution crystal structures and quantum chemistry meet to reveal subtleties of hydroxynitrile lyase catalysis. J. Biol. Chem. 283 (2008) 21827-21836. [PMID: 18524775]

7. Gartler, G., Kratky, C. and Gruber, K. Structural determinants of the enantioselectivity of the hydroxynitrile lyase from Hevea brasiliensis. J. Biotechnol. 129 (2007) 87-97. [PMID: 17250917]

8. Wagner, U.G., Schall, M., Hasslacher, M., Hayn, M., Griengl, H., Schwab, H. and Kratky, C. Crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction studies of a hydroxynitrile lyase from Hevea brasiliensis. Acta Crystallogr. D Biol. Crystallogr. 52 (1996) 591-593. [PMID: 15299689]

9. Schmidt, M., Herve, S., Klempier, N. and Griengl, H. Preparation of optically active cyanohydrins using the (S)-hydroxynitrile lyase from Hevea brasiliensis. Tetrahedron 52 (1996) 7833-7840.

10. Klempier, N. and Griengl, H. Aliphatic (S)-cyanohydrins by enzyme catalyzed synthesis. Tetrahedron Lett. 34 (1993) 4769-4772.

[EC created 2011]

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