Asymmetric Redox-Neutral Radical Cyclization Catalyzed by Flavin-Dependent ‘Ene’-Reductases

Flavin-dependent ‘ene’-reductases (EREDs) are exquisite catalysts for effecting stereoselective reductions. While these reactions typically proceed through a hydride transfer mechanism, we recently found that EREDs can also catalyze reductive dehalogenations and cyclizations via single electron transfer mechanisms. Here we demonstrate that these enzymes can catalyze redox-neutral radical cyclizations to produce enantioenriched oxindoles from a-haloamides. This transformation is a C–C bond forming reaction currently unknown in nature and one for which there are no catalytic asymmetric examples. Mechanistic studies indicate the reaction proceeds via the flavin semiquinone/quinone redox couple, where ground state flavin semiquinone provides the electron for substrate reduction and flavin quinone oxidizes the vinylogous a-amido radical formed after cyclization. This mechanistic manifold was previously unknown for this enzyme family, highlighting the versatility of EREDs in asymmetric synthesis.