Computational design of an enzyme catalyst for a stereoselective bimolecular Diels-Alder reaction

Zanghellini, A. et al.Science 2010: 329: 309-313

Abstract: The Diels-Alder reaction is a cornerstone in organic synthesis, forming two carbon-carbon bonds and up to four new stereogenic centers in one step. No naturally occurring enzymes have been shown to catalyze bimolecular Diels-Alder reactions. We describe the de novo computational design and experimental characterization of enzymes catalyzing a bimolecular Diels-Alder reaction with high stereoselectivity and substrate specificity. X-ray crystallography confirms that the structure matches the design for the most active of the enzymes, and binding site substitutions reprogram the substrate specificity. Designed stereoselective catalysts for carbon-carbon bond-forming reactions should be broadly useful in synthetic chemistry.