Biomacromolecule-Assisted Screening for Reaction Discovery and Catalyst Optimization

Stephany M. Ramos De Dios, Virendra K. Tiwari, Christopher D. McCune, Ranjeet A. Dhokale, David B. Berkowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Reaction discovery and catalyst screening lie at the heart of synthetic organic chemistry. While there are efforts at de novo catalyst design using computation/artificial intelligence, at its core, synthetic chemistry is an experimental science. This review overviews biomacromolecule-assisted screening methods and the follow-on elaboration of chemistry so discovered. All three types of biomacromolecules discussed─enzymes, antibodies, and nucleic acids─have been used as "sensors"to provide a readout on product chirality exploiting their native chirality. Enzymatic sensing methods yield both UV-spectrophotometric and visible, colorimetric readouts. Antibody sensors provide direct fluorescent readout upon analyte binding in some cases or provide for cat-ELISA (Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay)-type readouts. DNA biomacromolecule-assisted screening allows for templation to facilitate reaction discovery, driving bimolecular reactions into a pseudo-unimolecular format. In addition, the ability to use DNA-encoded libraries permits the barcoding of reactants. All three types of biomacromolecule-based screens afford high sensitivity and selectivity. Among the chemical transformations discovered by enzymatic screening methods are the first Ni(0)-mediated asymmetric allylic amination and a new thiocyanopalladation/carbocyclization transformation in which both C-SCN and C-C bonds are fashioned sequentially. Cat-ELISA screening has identified new classes of sydnone-alkyne cycloadditions, and DNA-encoded screening has been exploited to uncover interesting oxidative Pd-mediated amido-alkyne/alkene coupling reactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13800-13880
Number of pages81
JournalChemical Reviews
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 24 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)


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