Asymmetric catalysis

Asymmetric catalysis is a type of catalysis in which a chiral catalyst directs the formation of a chiral compound such that formation of one particular stereoisomer is favoured. Since the catalyst is not consumed in this process it may be used in a substoichiometric quantity – potentially improving efficiency and avoiding waste.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    In 1949, Winstein and Trifan proposed that the 2-norbornyl cation adopts a bridged, non-classical structure. Now, the generation of an asymmetric environment around the three-centre two-electron bond of such an ion has been reported, enabling highly enantioselective catalytic addition reactions to a simple, non-functionalized non-classical cation.

    • Roberta Properzi
    • , Philip S. J. Kaib
    • , Markus Leutzsch
    • , Gabriele Pupo
    • , Raja Mitra
    • , Chandra Kanta De
    • , Lijuan Song
    • , Peter R. Schreiner
    •  & Benjamin List
  • Research
    | Open Access

    ATP acts as a co-substrate in enzyme catalysed reactions, but can also specifically bind metal ions. Here, the authors show that ATP interacts with copper ions and forms a Cu(II)-ATP complex that efficiently catalyses Diels-Alder reactions, and determine ATP residues that are essential for this activity.

    • Changhao Wang
    • , Qianqian Qi
    • , Wenying Li
    • , Jingshuang Dang
    • , Min Hao
    • , Shuting Lv
    • , Xingchen Dong
    • , Youkun Gu
    • , Peizhe Wu
    • , Wenyue Zhang
    • , Yashao Chen
    •  & Jörg S. Hartig
  • Research
    | Open Access

    Chiral 1,2-diamines are useful chemicals used as ligands in asymmetric catalysis. Here, the authors report a copper(I)-catalyzed asymmetric α-addition of ketimines derived from trifluoroacetophenone and 2- or 4-NO2-benzylamines to aldimines, affording a series of chiral anti-1,2-diamine derivatives.

    • Xu-Cheng Gan
    • , Cheng-Yuan Zhang
    • , Feng Zhong
    • , Ping Tian
    •  & Liang Yin
  • Research
    | Open Access

    Substantial efforts have been devoted to the construction of axially chiral allenes, however, the strategies to prepare chiral exocyclic allenes are still rare. This work describes a copper-catalyzed asymmetric synthesis of exocyclic allenes by simultaneous control of axial and central chirality.

    • Cheng-Yu He
    • , Yun-Xuan Tan
    • , Xin Wang
    • , Rui Ding
    • , Yi-Fan Wang
    • , Feng Wang
    • , Dingding Gao
    • , Ping Tian
    •  & Guo-Qiang Lin

News and Comment

  • Comments and Opinion
    | Open Access

    Organocatalysis has become a major pillar of (asymmetric) catalysis. Here, the authors discuss recent trends in organocatalytic activation modes for challenging stereoselective transformations and the emerging integration with other fields, such as photoredox catalysis and electrosynthesis.

    • Shao-Hua Xiang
    •  & Bin Tan
  • News and Views |

    The chemoenzymatic potential for the construction of complex chiral molecules has not been fully explored. Now, Candida antarctica lipase B has been used to synthesize complex functionalized planar chiral macrocycles, providing a platform for the efficient and sustainable preparation of molecules that are of particular interest in drug discovery.

    • Jose M. Palomo
    Nature Catalysis 3, 335-336
  • News and Views |

    The introduction of single abiological catalytic groups enables enzymes to catalyse new-to-nature chemical transformations. Now, this concept is extended to two abiological groups in a single protein scaffold to allow synergistic catalysis in a stereoselective Michael addition reaction.

    • Xinkun Ren
    •  & Rudi Fasan
    Nature Catalysis 3, 184-185
  • News and Views |

    Imine reductases are promising catalysts, facilitating a direct stereoselective route to secondary amines. Now, protein engineering has created stable and efficient variants that allow their application in kilogram-scale synthesis.

    • Matthias Höhne
    Nature Catalysis 2, 841-842
  • News and Views |

    Given the importance of enantioenriched β2- and β3-amino acids as building blocks, direct and versatile methods for their synthesis are highly coveted by organic chemists. Now, using easily accessible 1,3-oxazinane motifs, a regiodivergent and enantioselective C–H functionalization method permits their synthesis in a straightforward and practical fashion.

    • Oriol Planas
    •  & Josep Cornella
    Nature Catalysis 2, 839-840