Merging enzymes with chemocatalysis for amide bond synthesis

Luis Bering, Elliott J Craven, Stanley A Sowerby Thomas, Sarah A Shepherd, Jason Micklefield

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Amides are one of the most fundamental chemical bonds in nature. In addition to proteins and other metabolites, many valuable synthetic products comprise amide bonds. Despite this, there is a need for more sustainable amide synthesis. Herein, we report an integrated next generation multi-catalytic system, merging nitrile hydratase enzymes with a Cu-catalysed N-arylation reaction in a single reaction vessel, for the construction of ubiquitous amide bonds. This synergistic one-pot combination of chemo- and biocatalysis provides an amide bond disconnection to precursors, that are orthogonal to those in classical amide synthesis, obviating the need for protecting groups and delivering amides in a manner unachievable using existing catalytic regimes. Our integrated approach also affords broad scope, very high (molar) substrate loading, and has excellent functional group tolerance, telescoping routes to natural product derivatives, drug molecules, and challenging chiral amides under environmentally friendly conditions at scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2022


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