Transketolase catalyzes asymmetric C−C bond formation of two highly polar compounds. Over the last 30 years, the reaction has unanimously been described in literature as irreversible because of the concomitant release of CO2 if using lithium hydroxypyruvate (LiHPA) as a substrate. Following the reaction over a longer period of time however, we have now found it to be initially kinetically controlled. Contrary to previous suggestions, for the non-natural conversion of synthetically more interesting apolar substrates, the complete change of active-site polarity is therefore not necessary. From docking studies it was revealed that water and hydrogen-bond networks are essential for substrate binding, thus allowing aliphatic aldehydes to be converted in the charged active site of transketolase.
- C−C coupling
- enzyme catalysis