Unlocking New Reactivities in Enzymes by Iminium Catalysis

Guangcai Xu, Gerrit J. Poelarends*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


The application of biocatalysis in conquering challenging synthesis requires the constant input of new enzymes. Developing novel biocatalysts by absorbing catalysis modes from synthetic chemistry has yielded fruitful new-to-nature enzymes. Organocatalysis was originally bio-inspired and has become the third pillar of asymmetric catalysis. Transferring organocatalytic reactions back to enzyme platforms is a promising approach for biocatalyst creation. Herein, we summarize recent developments in the design of novel biocatalysts that adopt iminium catalysis, a fundamental branch in organocatalysis. By repurposing existing enzymes or constructing artificial enzymes, various biocatalysts for iminium catalysis have been created and optimized via protein engineering to promote valuable abiological transformations. Recent advances in iminium biocatalysis illustrate the power of combining chemomimetic biocatalyst design and directed evolution to generate useful new-to-nature enzymes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202203613
Number of pages14
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number30
Early online date7-May-2022
Publication statusPublished - 25-Jul-2022


  • Biocatalysis
  • Chemomimetic Catalysis
  • Iminium Ions
  • Organocatalysis

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