Current developments and challenges in the search for a naturally selected Diels-Alderase

Hak Joong Kim, Mark W. Ruszczycky, Hung wen Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Only a very few examples of enzymes known to catalyze pericyclic reactions have been reported, and presently no enzyme has been demonstrated unequivocally to catalyze a Diels-Alder reaction. Nevertheless, research into secondary metabolism has led to the discovery of numerous natural products exhibiting the structural hallmarks of [4. +. 2] cycloadditions, prompting efforts to characterize the responsible enzymatic processes. These efforts have resulted in a growing collection of enzymes believed to catalyze pericyclic [4. +. 2] cycloaddition reactions; however, in each case the complexity of the substrates and catalytic properties of these enzymes poses significant challenges in substantiating these hypotheses. Herein we consider the principles motivating these efforts and the enzymological systems currently under investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-131
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Chemical Biology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Apr
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported partly by grants from the National Institutes of Health ( GM035906 , GM040541 , F32AI082906 ), the Texas Higher Education Coordination Board ( ARP-003658-0093-2007 ), and the Welch Foundation ( F-1511 ).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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