PerspectiveBiocatalysis

Biocatalytic cascades go viral

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Science  06 Dec 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6470, pp. 1199-1200
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz7376

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Summary

Natural biosynthesis assembles a vast array of complex natural products starting from a limited set of building blocks, under physiological conditions, and in the presence of numerous other biomolecules. Organisms rely on the extraordinary selectivity of enzymes and their ability to operate under similar reaction conditions, meaning that these catalysts are perfectly adapted to mediate cascade reactions. In these multistep processes, the product of one biocatalytic step becomes the substrate for the next transformation (13). On page 1255 of this issue, Huffman et al. (4) report the development of an impressive nine-enzyme biocatalytic cascade for the synthesis of the investigational drug islatravir for the treatment of human HIV.

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