ChemBioChem (2022): “Stereo-divergent enzyme cascades to convert racemic 4-phenyl-2-butanol into either (S)- or (R)- corresponding chiral amine”

The synthesis of enantiopure chiral amines from racemic alcohols is a key transformation in the chemical industry, e. g., in the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). However, this reaction remains challenging. In this work, we propose a one-pot enzymatic cascade for the direct conversion of a racemic alcohol into either (S)- or (R)-enantiomers of the corresponding amine, with in-situ cofactor recycling. This enzymatic cascade consists of two enantio-complementary alcohol dehydrogenases, both NADH and NADPH oxidase for in-situ recycling of NAD(P)+ cofactors, and either (S)- or (R)-enantioselective transaminase. This cell-free biocatalytic system has been successfully applied to the conversion of racemic 4-phenyl-2-butanol into the high value (S)- or (R)-enantiomers of the amine reaching good (73 % (S)) and excellent (>99 % (R)) enantioselectivities.

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