Biocatalytic stereocontrolled head-to-tail cyclizations of unbiased terpenes as a tool in chemoenzymatic synthesis


Nat Commun. 2024 Jun 10;15(1):4925. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-48993-9.


Terpene synthesis stands at the forefront of modern synthetic chemistry and represents the state-of-the-art in the chemist’s toolbox. Notwithstanding, these endeavors are inherently tied to the current availability of natural cyclic building blocks. Addressing this limitation, the stereocontrolled cyclization of abundant unbiased linear terpenes emerges as a valuable tool, which is still difficult to achieve with chemical catalysts. In this study, we showcase the remarkable capabilities of squalene-hopene cyclases (SHCs) in the chemoenzymatic synthesis of head-to-tail-fused terpenes. By combining engineered SHCs and a practical reaction setup, we generate ten chiral scaffolds with >99% ee and de, at up to decagram scale. Our mechanistic insights suggest how cyclodextrin encapsulation of terpenes may influence the performance of the membrane-bound enzyme. Moreover, we transform the chiral templates to valuable (mero)-terpenes using interdisciplinary synthetic methods, including a catalytic ring-contraction of enol-ethers facilitated by cooperative iodine/lipase catalysis.

PMID:38858373 | DOI:10.1038/s41467-024-48993-9