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Title:
PROCESS FOR THE SYNTHESIS OF 9α-HYDROXY-STEROIDS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2009/004394
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
The present invention relates to a novel selective synthesis of 9α-hydroxy-steroid derivatives of the general formula (I) (I) - wherein the meaning of -A-A'- is -CH2-CH2- or -CH=CH- group - by the bioconversion of compounds of the general formula (II) (II) wherein the meaning of -A-A'- is -CH2-CH2- or -CH=CH- group - by using Nocardia farcinica bacterium strain, deposition number of which is NCAIM (P) - B 001342, as hydroxylating microorganism in the bioconversion.

Inventors:
OLASZ, Katalin (Õrmester u. 7, Budapest, H-1163, HU)
TEGDES, Anikό (Vizimolnár u. 4. 8. em. 77, Budapest, H-1031, HU)
GANCSOS, Valéria (Esze Tamas U. 32, Dombrad, H-4492, HU)
HANTOS, Gábor (Tavas u. 3/B, Budapest, H-1108, HU)
KÖNCZÖL, Kálmán (Dunyov U. 16, Budapest, H-1134, HU)
BALOGH, Gabor (Korpona U. 14, Budapest, H-1183, HU)
ERDÉLYI, Sándor (Mártírok út 18, Tápióság, H-2253, HU)
Application Number:
HU2008/000078
Publication Date:
January 08, 2009
Filing Date:
June 30, 2008
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
RICHTER GEDEON NYRT. (Gyömröi út 19-21, Budapest, H-1103, HU)
OLASZ, Katalin (Õrmester u. 7, Budapest, H-1163, HU)
TEGDES, Anikό (Vizimolnár u. 4. 8. em. 77, Budapest, H-1031, HU)
GANCSOS, Valéria (Esze Tamas U. 32, Dombrad, H-4492, HU)
HANTOS, Gábor (Tavas u. 3/B, Budapest, H-1108, HU)
KÖNCZÖL, Kálmán (Dunyov U. 16, Budapest, H-1134, HU)
BALOGH, Gabor (Korpona U. 14, Budapest, H-1183, HU)
ERDÉLYI, Sándor (Mártírok út 18, Tápióság, H-2253, HU)
International Classes:
C07J21/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO1997021720A21997-06-19
Foreign References:
US4029549A1977-06-14
US4035236A1977-07-12
Other References:
J. NAT. PROD. vol. 66, 2003, pages 350 - 356
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RICHTER GEDEON NYRT. (Gyömröi út 19-21, Budapest, H-1103, HU)
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Claims:

What we claim is:

1. Process for the selective synthesis of compounds of the general formula (I)

- wherein the meaning of -A-A'- is -CH 2 -CH 2 - or -CH=CH- group - by the bioconversion of compounds of the general formula (II)

wherein the meaning of -A-A'- is -CH 2 -CH 2 - or -CH=CH- group, characterized by using Nocardia farcinica bacterium strain, deposition number of which is NCAIM (P) - B 001342, as hydroxylating microorganism in the bioconversion.

2. The process according to claim 1, characterized by obtaining more than 80 % bioconversion.

Description:

PROCESS FOR THE SYNTHESIS OF 9α-HYDROXY-STEROIDS

The present invention relates to a novel selective synthesis of 9α-hydroxy-steroid derivatives of the general formula (I)

- wherein the meaning of -A-A'- is -CH 2 -CH 2 - or -CH=CH- group - by the bioconversion of compounds of the general formula (II)

wherein the meaning of -A-A'- is -CH 2 -CH 2 - or -CH=CH- group.

It is known that 9α-hydroxy-steroids are widely used in therapy, as for example the 9α-hydroxy derivatives of pregnane steroids have glucocorticoid activity as well as the 9α- hydroxy derivatives of androstane derivatives are used as active ingredients of anti-androgen and anti-estrogen drugs. Those 9α-hydroxy-steroids which do not have substituent in position 11 can easily be dehydrated by known chemical methods and the so obtained 9(l l)-dehydro-steroids are important intermediates in the synthesis of compounds possessing high biological activity. Such compounds are for example hydrocortisone (chemical name: 1 l β, 17,21 -trihydroxy- pregn-4-ene-3,20-dione) and prednisolone (chemical name: 1 lβ, 17,21 -trihydroxy-pregn- 1,4- diene-3,20-dione) having anti-inflammatory activity or eplerenone (chemical name: 9α,l lα- epoxy-17β-hydroxy-3-oxo-pregna-4-ene-7,21-dicarboxylic acid gamma lactone) the latter having broad indication profile; for example it decreases the risk of mortality caused by heart

and blood-vessel problems as beta-blocker as well as it is used for the treatment of high blood pressure and as diuretic.

The members of the δ -3-keto-pregnane family were first hydroxylated in 9α-position by Hanze and coworkers in 1958 using Cunninghamella and Helicostylum thread fungus strains (see: US-Pat. 3,038,913). In 1960 Sih and coworkers described the 9α-hydroxylation of steroids using microorganisms having δ 1 -dehydrogenase enzyme activity in the presence of δ 1 -dehydrogenase inhibitor (see: US-Pat. 3,065,146). Two years later Sebek carried out the 9α-hydroxylation of steroids by using Ascochyta linecola strain (see: US-Pat. 3,116,220).

In the previously mentioned patent Sih and coworkers also listed mycobacteria strains as microorganisms having steroid 9α-hydroxylase enzymes (see: US-Pat. 3,065,146).

It is known, that in 1977 Frederick and coworkers produced a new mycobacterium strain by mutagenic treatment, which only partially degraded the examined sterol substrates and therefore the 9α-hydroxy derivatives were accumulated (see: US-Pat. 4,029,549). Wovcha used the same strain - Mycobacterium fortuitum NRRL B-8119 strain - for the synthesis of new 9α-hydroxy derivatives (see: US-Pat. 4,035,236).

Wovcha and coworkers studied the role of Mycobacterium fortuitum ATCC 6842 strain in the degradation of the steroid backbone. They found that the key step in the degradation into carbon dioxide and water is the subsequent functioning of δ 1 -dehydrogenase and 9α-hydroxylase enzymes. The two conversion steps can be interchanged that is both reaction steps can be carried out by two-two enzymes (group of enzymes); for example one of them, the δ'-dehydrogenase enzyme converts the starting material and the other δ 1 - dehydrogenate the 9α-hydroxy derivative. In their experiments they supposed, that the above enzymes can be induced; and by using different inducers the amount and the composition of the formed products varied significantly [Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 574, 471-479 (1979)].

In 1981 Marsheck and coworkers carried out the 9α-hydroxylation of steroid compounds by using a new mutant Nocardia canicruria strain in such a way that there was not necessary to use δ'-dehydrogenase enzyme inhibitor. In the above mentioned examples the synthesis of 9α-hydroxy-ketolactone (chemical name: 9α,17-dihydroxy-3-oxo-17α- pregna-4-ene-21-carboxylic acid gamma lactone) is described starting from ketolactone (chemical name: 17-hydroxy-3-oxo-17α-pregna-4-ene-21-carboxylic acid gamma lactone);

using 0.5 g/dm 3 concentration of the ketolactone substrate the desired hydroxylated product was formed in 30 % conversion (see: US Pat. 4,397,947).

Among others Mutafov and coworkers studied the inducibility of the steroid 9α- hydroxylase enzyme using Rhodococcus sp. strain and found that 9α-hydroxy-4-androstene- 3,17-dione formed as product was very poor inducer, since using it as inducer the reaction rate was half and the amount of the formed 9α-hydroxy product was a quarter of that when 4- androstene-3,17-dione was used as inducer [Process Biochemistry 32 (7), 585-589 (1997)].

Brzostek and coworkers studied the degradation of the steroid backbone on gene level and found that blocking the δ 1 -dehydrogenase enzyme activity, which is needed for the synthesis 9α-hydroxy steroid derivatives, is difficult, because there are not only different types of δ 1 -dehydrogenase enzymes but the genome contains in some cases five δ 1 - dehydrogenase genes [Microbiology 151, 2393-2402 (2005)].

It is known that a microbiological step is carried out besides the chemical reaction steps in the synthesis of eplerenone, among others the hydroxylation of a valuable intermediate, the canrenone (chemical name: 17-hydroxy-3-oxo-17α-pregna-4,6-diene-21- carboxylic acid gamma lactone), was carried out with microorganisms (Diplodia, Aspergillus, Absidia sp.) (see: US Patent Applications No. 2004/087562 and 2004/097475 and further PCT International Patent Application No 2005/000865).

Another synthesis of eplerenone can be carried out via 9α-hydroxylation of canrenone. The 9α-hydroxy-canrenone (chemical name: 9α,17-dihydroxy-3-oxo-17α-pregna-4,6-diene-

21-carboxylic acid gamma lactone) was first synthesized by Ng and coworkers by microbiological hydroxylation (see: PCT International Patent Appl. No 97/21720 and

Hungarian patent No 222,453) and described in Example 17 in the above mentioned patents.

The 9α-hydroxy-canrenone as product is first described in patent claims in 1998 in the patent of Ng and coworkers (see: PCT International Patent Appl. No 98/25948; or later US- Pat. 7,129,345).

The international search examining authority found 18 independent inventions in the

PCT-patent applications No 97/21720 and 98/25948, therefore they suggested to the inventor to file selection patent applications. As a result of this more than 100 patent applications were filed, from which several contains Example 17 of the above mentioned patent No. WO-

97/21720 (see PCT No 2005/239761).

The above mentioned Example 17 describes the screening data of 83 microorganisms, which potentially have steroid 9α-hydroxylating enzyme activity and gives the TLC,

HPLC/UV and LC/MS data of the products formed during the bioconversion of canrenone.

From the table given there it can only be seen that the 9α-hydroxy-canrenone can be detected by the above mentioned analytical methods in the possible products or not. There is a mycobacterium in this table, Mycobacterium fortuitum ATCC 6842 strain, but there are no analytical data given in the appropriate columns. The bioconversion ability of this strain is known from the literature [publications starting from 1936, Acta Med. Rio de Janeiro 1,1], therefore it can be supposed that decomposition of canrenone took place (see US patents No 4,029,549 and 4,035,236).

This presumption is supported by a publication, which was written in 2003 by the microbiologist inventors of the above mentioned patent family. This publication contains the same table, but the Mycobacterium fortuitum strain in this table a variant of the above, developed for 9α-hydroxylation of steroids: registry number NRRL B-8119 [J. Nat. Prod. 66, 350-356 (2003)]. In this case according to the authors the Mycobacterium fortuitum NRRL B- 8119 did not produce hydroxy or dehydrogenated product and there was no metabolism.

In the above mentioned Example 17 there are 3 types of Nocardia strains, namely: Nocardia aurentis, Nocardia cancicruria and Nocardia coralline strains. According to TLC and HPLC measurements the conversion products of two strains are similar to 9α-hydroxy- canrenone, but the formation of 9α-hydroxy-canrenone was disclosed by LC/MS analysis.

The only microbiological synthesis of 9α-hydroxy-canrenone in which numerical data are given is described in the above mentioned publication: Corynespora cassiicola ATCC

16718 strain was used in aerobic fermentation carried out in a flask, using 0.1 g/dm 3 concentration of canrenone substrate the desired hydroxylated product was formed in 30 % conversion [J. Nat. Prod. 66, 350-356 (2003)].

As it can be seen from above mentioned publications there is no such microbiological synthesis of 9α-hydroxy derivatives of canrenone or ketolactone, which is industrially applicable.

The aim of our invention is therefore to elaborate an industrially applicable microbiological process for the hydroxylation of steroid of the general formula (II), wherein the meaning of -A-A'- is -CH 2 -CH 2 - or -CH=CH- group, as substrate in position 9 without considerable degradation and by-product formation.

In our initial experiments mycobacterium strains proved to be the most suitable for the microbiological synthesis of 9α-hydroxy-canrenone. The conversion ability of 38 mycobacterium and Nocardia strains were screened using ketolactone and canrenone as substrate. Among these strains there were wild type sterol degrading ones, for example Mycobacterium fortuitum ATCC 6842, or partially backbone degrading Mycobacterium fortuitum NRRL B-8129; as well as several strains, definitely developed for 9α- hydroxylation: Mycobacterium fortuitum NRRL B-8119, Mycobacterium sp. NCAIM 1072, Mycobacterium sp. NCAIM 324.

During the screening we found 3 strains, which - according to TLC analysis - produced detectable amount of 9α-hydroxy derivative: Mycobacterium fortuitum NCAIM 00327, Mycobacterium fortuitum NCAEvI 00323 and Nocardia sp. RG 1369.

AU of the three strains are able to convert the compound of the general formula (II), wherein the meaning of -A-A'- is -CH 2 -CH 2 - group, into 9α-hydroxy derivative. However we found, that only Nocardia sp. RG 1369 strain is able to convert the compound of the general formula (II), wherein the meaning of -A-A'- is -CH=CH- group, into 9α-hydroxy derivative.

In order to improve this conversion ability we carried out experiments in shaken flasks, using glucose, saccharose or glycerol as carbon source, preferably 5-25 g/dm 3 glycerol, more preferably 15 g/dm 3 glycerol, as well as using yeast extract, plant peptone or malt extract as nitrogen source, preferably using the yeast extract, the plant peptone and the malt extract together in 1-10 g/dm 3 concentration, more preferably in 5-5 g/dm 3 concentration, in given case applying ammonium, phosphate, potassium, magnesium and iron in their appropriate compounds. The cultivation temperature was 28-35 0 C, preferably 32 0 C. When Nocardia sp. RG 1369 strain was cultured as mentioned above and the canrenone substrate was added in 4 g/dm 3 concentration we found that a significant amount of the steroid decomposed in a few hours, although the 9α-hydroxy-canrenone product can still be isolated, but after 24 hours of the addition of the substrate the total degradation of the steroid backbone was observed.

In our further experiments we tried to shift the reaction towards the formation of 9α- hydroxy-canrenone by using selective inducer. From among the known inducers AD (chemical name: 4-androstene-3,17-dione) and 10,11-dihydroxy-levodione (chemical name: 13-ethyl-10,l lα-dihydroxy-4-gonene-3,17-dione) were active. When 10,11-dihydroxy-

levodione was used as inducer the decomposition took place 6-10 hours later, than in the case of AD. The 10,11-dihydroxy-levodione inducer was dissolved in a mixture of methanol- water, preferably in a 3:1 mixture, at elevated temperature, preferably at 50 °C and filtered to have sterile solution. It was added to the culture at the end of the lag period, at the age of 10- 24 hours, preferably at the age of 18 hours, in 0.01-0.5 g/dm 3 concentration, preferably in 0.05 g/dm 3 concentration.

According to our experiments the degradation can be delayed by addition of δ 1 - dehydrogenase enzyme inhibitors such as chloramphenicol, oxytetracycline and streptomycin antibiotics as well as quinones, for example hydroquinone, naphthoquinone and ninhydrin. We obtained the best results when we used streptomycin; the decomposition time was 3-7 hours longer, hi our experiments the antibiotic was added 2-8 hours after the induction, preferably after 6 hours, in 2-10 mg/dm 3 , preferably in 6 mg/dm 3 final concentration.

After analyzing the results of our experiments we recognized that we have to try to produce a strain starting from Nocardia sp. RG 1369 strain by mutagenic treatment and selection, which can be used in the industrial process for the synthesis of the compound of the general formula (I), wherein the meaning of -A-A'- is -CH 2 -CH 2 - or -CH=CH- group.

From among the possible mutagenic treatments we choose irradiation with UV light of 254 nm wavelength. During the mutagenic treatment the culture of Nocardia sp. RG 1369, which was suspended in physiological saline and kept under aseptic condition, was treated by known method using Mineralight UVGL-58 type lamp from 15 cm for 23 min - the irradiation time was chosen on the basis of the previously measured lethality curve.

The neat cultures, which were obtained by known methods, were screened and surprisingly it was found, that there was one isolate, which was able to convert the compound of the general formula (II), wherein the meaning of -A-A'- is -CH 2 -CH 2 - or -CH=CH- group, into the compound of the general formula (I), wherein the meaning of -A-A'- is - CH 2 -CH 2 - or -CH=CH- group, without considerable degradation. The so obtained Nocardia sp. FIa (RG 4451) bacterium mutant was able to perform higher than 80 % conversion. Upon rRNA sequencing the bacterium was identified as Nocardia farcinica NCAIM (P) - B 001342 and deposited for the purposes of patent procedure under the Budapest Treaty.

According to the above mentioned facts the invention relates to a process for the selective synthesis of compound of the general formula (I),

wherein the meaning of -A-A'- is -CH 2 -CH 2 - or -CH=CH- group, by the bioconversion of compound of the general formula (II),

wherein the meaning of -A-A'- is -CH 2 -CH 2 - or -CH=CH- group, comprising using Nocardia farcinica bacterium strain, deposition number of which is NCAIM (P) - B 001342, as hydroxylating microorganism in the bioconversion.

The morphological characteristics of the new mutant Nocardia farcinica NCAIM (P) -

B 001342 strain show small dissimilarity to those of the starting Nocardia sp. RG 1369 strain. This difference is most visible on the surface of YTA agar (composition of which is: 10 g/dm 3 of tripcasein; 1 g/dm 3 of yeast extract; 5 g/dm 3 of sodium chloride; 0.25 g/dm 3 of magnesium sulfate heptahydrate; 0.07 g/dm 3 of calcium chloride dihydrate; 20 g/dm 3 of agar-agar): the starting Nocardia sp. RG 1369 strain produces yellow-orange pigment and its surface is plain, shiny, most of the developed culture can be found below the surface of the agar and not above it. hi contrast to this the surface of cultures of the new mutant Nocardia farcinica NCAIM (P)

- B 001342 strain is not plain, but wrinkled and only small portion of them can be found below the surface of the agar.

The identification of the bacterium strain was done by the partial sequence analysis of 16S rRNA gene.

>RGl(Nocardia sp. FIa (RG 4451) fullseqed2: GTCGAGCGGTAAGGCCCTTCGGGGTACACGAGCGGCGAACGGGTGAGTAACACGTGGGTG AT CTGCCCTGTACTTCGGGATAAGCCTGGGAAACTGGGTCTAATACCGGATATGACCTTACA TC GCATGGTGTTTGGTGGAAAGATTTATCGGTACAGGATGGGCCCGCGGCCTATCAGCTTGT TG GTGGGGTAATGGCCTACCAAGGCGACGACGGGTAGCCGGCCTGAGAGGGCGACCGGCCAC AC TGGGACTGAGACACGGCCCAGACTCCTACGGGAGGCAGCAGTGGGGAATATTGCACAATG GG CGAAAGCCTGATGCAGCGACGCCGCGTGAGGGATGACGGCCTTCGGGTTGTAAACCTCTT TC GACAGGGACGAAGCGCAAGTGACGGTACCTGTAGAAGAAGCACCGGCCAACTACGTGCCA GC AGCCGCGGTAATACGTAGGGTGCGAGCGTTGTCCGGAATTACTGGGCGTAAAGAGCTTGT AG GCGGTTTGTCGCGTCGTCCGTGAAAACTTGGGGCTCAACCCCAAGCTTGCGGGCGATACG GG CAGACTTGAGTACTGCAGGGGAGACTGGAATTCCTGGTGTAGCGGTGAAA.TGCGCAGAT ATC AGGAGGAACACCGGTGGCGAAGGCGGGTCTCTGGGCAGTAACTGACGCTGAGAAGCGAAA GC GTGGGTAGCGAACAGGATTAGATACCCTGGTAGTCCACGCCGTAAACGGTGGGCGCTAGG TG TGGGTTTCCTTCCACGGGATCCGTGCCGTAGCTAACGCATTAAGCGCCCCGCCTGGGGAG TA CGGCCGCAAGGCTAAAACTCAAAGGAATTGACGGGGGCCCGCACAAGCGGCGGAGCATGT GG ATTAATTCGATGCAACGCGAAGAACCTTACCTGGGTTTGACATACACCGGAAACCTGCAG AG ATGTAGGCCCCCTTGTGGTCGGTGTACAGGTGGTGCATGGCTGTCGTCAGCTCGTGTCGT GA GATGTTGGGTTAAGTCCCGCAACGAGCGCAACCCTTGTCCTGTGTTGCCAGCGCGTTATG GC GGGGACTCGCAGGAGACTGCCGGGGTCAACTCGGAGGAAGGTGGGGACGACGTCAAGTCA TC ATGCCCCTTATGTCCAGGGCTTCACACATGCTACAATGGCCGGTACAGAGGGCTGCGATA CC GTGAGGTGGAGCGAATCCCTTAAAGCCGGTCTCAGTTCGGATCGGGGTCTGCAACTCGAC CC CGTGAAGTTGGAGTCGCTAGTAATCGCAGATCAGCAACGCTGCGGTGAATACGTTCCCGG GC CTTGTACACACCGCCCGTCACGTCATGAAAGTCGGTAACACCCGAAGCCGGTGGCCTAAC CC

CTTGT

The obtained sequence (1396 bp) covers the 91 % of the full gene (1527 bp). The species identification of the studied strain can be determined on the basis of the

NCBI BLAST hits by the applied genotaxonomical method: the correct species designation of

RG 4451 strain is Nocardiafarcinica.

Its place in the systematics of the living organisms: Nocardiafarcinica Trevisan 1889 [3]

Cellular organisms; Bacteria; Actinobacteria; Actinobacteria; Actinobacteridae; Actinomycetales; Corynebacterineae; Nocardiaceae; Nocardia; Nocardiafarcinica

The exact data of the applied NCBI BLAST [2] identification:

Accessibility: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/blast/, Version: BLASTN 2.2.16 (Mar-25-2007) Database: All GenBank+EMBL+DDBJ+PDB sequences but no EST, STS, GSS, environmental samples or phase 0, 1 or 2 HTGS sequences); 5,284,371 sequences; 20,692,750,832 total letters, Algorithm: megablast

The 16S rRNS gene sequence of strains belonging to Nocardia farcinica species is identical or very similar to each other. The similarity is also considerable in the subgenus, but the families of Corynebacterineae genus (see Nocardiaceae, Mycobacteriaceae) are very different. An important and clearly observable difference between the two strains is the conversion ability in synthesizing the compound of the general formula (I), wherein the meaning of -A-A'- is -CH 2 -CH 2 - or -CH=CH- group, that is the new mutant Nocardia farcinica NCAIM (P) - B 001342 strain retained the 9α-hydroxylation ability, but the degradation of the steroid backbone is suppressed. Therefore - under the previously defined experimental conditions - due to the suppressed degradation the amount of the 9α-hydroxy product is higher, it can be isolated: it can be used on industrial scale synthesis.

Diagram of Figure 1 shows the characteristic steroid conversion pattern of the Nocardia sp. RG 1369 mother strain under the previously given fermentation conditions using canrenone substrate. Diagram of Figure 2 shows the conversion ability of Nocardia farcinica NCAIM (P) - B 001342 strain under the same conditions.

The invention is illustrated by the following not limiting examples.

Example 1

The culture of Nocardia farcinica NCAIM (P) -B 001342 is maintained on the following agar slopes:

The inoculated culture was incubated at 32 0 C for 4 days, then it was kept at +4-10 0 C for further 30 days in order to initiate proliferation. Vegetative culture was made by transferring

the suspension of the surface culture into 100 cm 3 of sterilized culture medium of the following composition in a 500 cm 3 flask:

The culture was shaken at 32 0 C for 48 h with 200 rpm , then 10% of it was used to inoculate 100 cm 3 of sterilized culture medium of the following composition in a 500 cm 3 flask:

The culture was shaken at 32 0 C for 72 h with 200 rpm, then 10% of it was used to inoculate 100 cm 3 of sterilized culture medium of the following composition in a 500 cm 3 flask:

The culture was shaken at 32 0 C for 72 h with 200 rpm, then at the age of 18 h the formation of the 9α-hydroxylase enzyme was induced by adding 5 mg of 10,11-dihydroxy-levodione dissolved in a 3:1 mixture of methanol-water. After 6 h induction 0.4 g of ketolactone substrate (chemical name: 17-hydroxy-3-oxo-17α-pregna-4-ene-21-carboxylic acid gamma lactone) dissolved in dimethyl formamide was added to the culture. After further 16 h the culture was extracted with chloroform, the organic layer was concentrated, the residue was recrystallized from ethyl acetate, filtered and dried. The so obtained crystalline material was 456 mg. According to HPLC measurement it contained 74.3 % of the product, that is 339 mg (which means 84.7 % yield) of 9α-hydroxy-ketolactone (chemical name: 9α,17-dihydroxy-3- oxo-17α-pregna-4-ene-21-carboxylic acid gamma lactone). The so obtained product was characterized by NMR measurement. The typical chemical shifts are the following:

1 H NMR {500 MHz, DMSO-d 6 (TMS), δ(ppm)}: 0.87 (3H,s,18-Me); 1.20 & 1.67 (2H,m & m,H-12); 1.25 (3H,s,19-Me); 1.32 & 1.54 (2H,m & m,H-15); 1.43 & 1.48 (2H,m & m,H-7); 1.47 & 1.67 (2H,m & m,H-l l); 1.58 & 2.33 (2H,m & m,H-l); 1.65 (lH,m,H-9); 1.86 & 2.05 (2H,m & m,H-16); 1.90 (lH,m,H-8); 1.92 & 2.37 (2H,m & m,H-20); 2.17 & 2.38 (2H,m & m,H-2); 2.20 & 2.43 (2H,m & m,H-6); 2.40 & 2.54 (2H,m & m,H-21); 4.18 (lH,s,OH); 5.65 (lH,m,H-4)

13 C NMR {125 MHz, DMSO-d 6 (TMS), δ(ppm)}: 13.6 (C-18); 19.4 (C-19); 22.3 (C-15); 24.3 (C-7); 25.8 (C-I l); 26.5 (C-12); 27.9 (C-I); 28.8 (C-21); 30.5 (C-20); 31.3 (C-6); 33.8 (C-2);

34.8 (C-16); 37.4 (C-8); 42.0 (C- 14); 44.0 (C-IO); 44.9 (C-13); 75.1 (C-9); 95.3 (C-17); 124.9 (C-4); 170.6 (C-5); 176.3 (C-22); 197.9 (C-3)

Example 2

The experiment was carried out as described in Example 1, but the main phase culture was produced in a laboratory fermenter.

The inoculum culture was shaken at 32 0 C for 72 h with 200 rpm, then the content of 5 flasks was used to inoculate 5 dm 3 of sterilized main phase culture medium of the following composition into a 9 dm 3 jar fermenter:

The culture was stirred at 32 0 C for with 300 1/min speed and 200 dm /h aeration rate. At the age of 18 h the formation of the 9α-hydroxylase enzyme was induced in the culture by adding 250 mg of 10,11-dihydroxy-levodione dissolved in a 3:1 mixture of methanol-water. After 6 h induction 5 g of canrenone substrate (chemical name: 17-hydroxy-3-oxo-17α-pregna-4,6- diene-21-carboxylic acid gamma lactone) dissolved in ethanol was added to the culture. The bioconversion was carried out in the same fermenter at 30 0 C, stirring with 300 1/min speed and 200 dm 3 /h aeration rate. After further 16 h the culture was extracted with chloroform, the organic layer was concentrated, the residue was recrystallized from ethyl acetate, filtered and dried. The so obtained crystalline material was 5.66 g. According to HPLC measurement it contained 72.4 % of the product, that is 4.1 g (which means 82 % yield) of 9α-hydroxy- kanrenon (chemical name: 9α,17-dihydroxy-3-oxo-17α-pregna-4,6-diene-21-carboxylic acid gamma lactone).

The so obtained product was characterized by NMR measurement. The typical chemical shifts are the following:

1 HNMR {500 MHz, DMSO-d 6 (TMS), δ(ppm)}: 0.92 (3H,s,18-Me); 1.15 (3H,s,19-Me); 1.22 & 1.75 (2H,m & m,H-12); 1.48 & 1.67 (2H,m & m,H-l l); 1.48 & 1.77 (2H,m & m,H-15); 1.64 & 2.25 (2H,m & m,H-l); 1.92 & 2.10 (2H,m & m,H-16); 1.94 & 2.36 (2H,m & m,H-20); 1.97 (lH,m,H-8); 2.26 & 2.54 (2H,m & m,H-2); 2.42 & 2.57 (2H,m & m,H-21); 2.50 (lH,m,H-9); 4.13 (lH,s,OH); 5.65 (lH,br,H-4); 5.89 (lH,dd,H-7); 6.18 (lH,dd,H-6) 1 3 C NMR {125 MHz, DMSO-d 6 (TMS), δφpm)}: 13.3 (C-18); 18.8 (C-19); 21.5 (C-15); 25.2 (C-I l); 26.2 (C-12); 26.7 (C-I); 28.6 (C-21); 30.4 (C-20); 33.3 (C-2); 34.7 (C-16); 39.2 (C- 8); 40.6 (C-14); 42.0 (C-10); 45.5 (C-13); 74.1 (C-9); 94.9 (C-17); 124.6 (C-4); 127.9 (C-6); 136.2 (C-7); 162.5 (C-5); 176.2 (C-22); 198.1 (C-3)