New Additions to the Arsenal of Biocatalysts for Noncanonical Amino Acid Synthesis

Curr Opin Green Sustain Chem. 2022 Dec;38:100701. doi: 10.1016/j.cogsc.2022.100701. Epub 2022 Sep 15.


Noncanonical amino acids (ncAAs) merge the conformational behavior and native interactions of proteinogenic amino acids with nonnative chemical motifs and have proven invaluable in developing modern therapeutics. This blending of native and nonnative characteristics has resulted in essential drugs like nirmatrelvir, which comprises three ncAAs and is used to treat COVID-19. Enzymes are appearing prominently in recent syntheses of ncAAs, where they demonstrate impressive control over the stereocenters and functional groups found therein. Here we review recent efforts to expand the biocatalyst arsenal for synthesizing ncAAs with natural enzymes. We also discuss how new-to-nature enzymes can contribute to this effort by catalyzing reactions inspired by the vast repertoire of chemical catalysis and acting on substrates that would otherwise not be used in synthesizing ncAAs. Abiotic enzyme-catalyzed reactions exploit the selectivity afforded by a macromolecular catalyst to access molecules not available to natural enzymes and perhaps not even chemical catalysis.

PMID:36561208 | PMC:PMC9770695 | DOI:10.1016/j.cogsc.2022.100701


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