Scalable and selective β-hydroxy-α-amino acid synthesis catalyzed by promiscuous L-threonine transaldolase ObiH

23 August 2021, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Enzymes from secondary metabolic pathways possess broad potential for the selective synthesis of complex bioactive molecules. However, the practical application of these enzymes for organic synthesis is dependent on the development of efficient, economical, operationally-simple and well-characterized systems for preparative scale reactions. We sought to bridge this knowledge gap for the selective biocatalytic synthesis of β-hydroxy-α-amino acids, which are important synthetic building blocks. To achieve this goal, we demonstrated the ability of ObiH, an L-threonine transaldolase, to achieve selective gram-scale synthesis of a diverse array of non-standard amino acids (nsAAs) using a scalable whole cell platform. We show how the initial selectivity of the catalyst is high and how the diastereomeric ratio of products decreases at high conversion due to product re-entry into the catalytic cycle. ObiH-catalyzed reactions with a variety of aromatic, aliphatic and heterocyclic aldehydes selectively generated a panel of β-hydroxy-α-amino acids possessing broad functional-group diversity. Furthermore, we demonstrated that ObiH-generated β-hydroxy-α-amino acids could be modified through additional transformations to access important motifs, such as β-chloro-α-amino acids and substituted α-keto acids.


C-C bond formation
amino acid


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