The In Situ Enzymatic Screening (ISES) Approach to Reaction Discovery and Catalyst Identification

Robert A. Swyka, David B. Berkowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The importance of discovering new chemical transformations and/or optimizing catalytic combinations has led to a flurry of activity in reaction screening. The in situ enzymatic screening (ISES) approach described here utilizes biological tools (enzymes/cofactors) to advance chemistry. The protocol interfaces an organic reaction layer with an adjacent aqueous layer containing reporting enzymes that act upon the organic reaction product, giving rise to a spectroscopic signal. ISES allows the experimentalist to rapidly glean information on the relative rates of a set of parallel organic/organometallic reactions under investigation, without the need to quench the reactions or draw aliquots. In certain cases, the real-time enzymatic readout also provides information on sense and magnitude of enantioselectivity and substrate specificity. This article contains protocols for single-well (relative rate) and double-well (relative rate/enantiomeric excess) ISES, in addition to a colorimetric ISES protocol and a miniaturized double-well procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-305
Number of pages21
JournalCurrent protocols in chemical biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 14 2017


  • UV/vis spectrophotometry
  • catalysis
  • enzymatic screening
  • metal-ligand combinations
  • reaction discovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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