Asymmetric α-benzylation of cyclic ketones enabled by concurrent chemical aldol condensation and biocatalytic reduction

Yunting Liu, Teng Ma, Zhongxu Guo, Liya Zhou, Guanhua Liu, Ying He, Li Ma, Jing Gao, Frank Hollmann*, More Authors

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Chemoenzymatic cascade catalysis has emerged as a revolutionary tool for streamlining traditional retrosynthetic disconnections, creating new possibilities for the asymmetric synthesis of valuable chiral compounds. Here we construct a one-pot concurrent chemoenzymatic cascade by integrating organobismuth-catalyzed aldol condensation with ene-reductase (ER)-catalyzed enantioselective reduction, enabling the formal asymmetric α-benzylation of cyclic ketones. To achieve this, we develop a pair of enantiocomplementary ERs capable of reducing α-arylidene cyclic ketones, lactams, and lactones. Our engineered mutants exhibit significantly higher activity, up to 37-fold, and broader substrate specificity compared to the parent enzyme. The key to success is due to the well-tuned hydride attack distance/angle and, more importantly, to the synergistic proton-delivery triade of Tyr28-Tyr69-Tyr169. Molecular docking and density functional theory (DFT) studies provide important insights into the bioreduction mechanisms. Furthermore, we demonstrate the synthetic utility of the best mutants in the asymmetric synthesis of several key chiral synthons.

Original languageEnglish
Article number71
JournalNature Communications
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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