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Synergistic activation of the Diels-Alder reaction by an organic catalyst and substituents: a computational study
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemistry, Physical Chemistry.
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemistry, Physical Chemistry.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2673-075X
2009 (English)In: Organic and biomolecular chemistry, ISSN 1477-0520, E-ISSN 1477-0539, Vol. 7, no 7, 1304-1311 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Density functional theory (DFT), using the hybrid functionals B3LYP and B2PLYP, has been employed to investigate the activation of the acrolein-butadiene Diels-Alder reaction, mediated by a thiourea catalyst. Effects due to electron-donating groups (EDGs) on the diene, as well as electron-withdrawing groups (EWGs) on the dienophile, have also been studied. Organic catalysts such as thioureas are known to lower the activation energy through hydrogen-bonding to the carbonyl oxygen, in a way that mimics the oxyanion holes of hydrolytic enzymes. EDGs and EWGs were found to further activate the reaction, and the catalyst showed a synergistic behavior towards the EDGs. Polar solvents were found to reduce the overall activation energy, but also the relative catalytic effect of the thiourea, in accordance with experimental studies. The substituent-mediated reactions displayed more asynchronous transition structures with lower activation energy, which led us to investigate the possibility of an alternative two-step, Michael-type route, similar to what has been found in macrophomate synthase. Although the concerted Diels-Alder route was found to be favored over the Michael route, the calculated activation energy difference is less than 1 kcal mol(-1), which suggests that the two mechanisms compete, and could be responsible for the particular stereochemical outcome of an experiment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 7, no 7, 1304-1311 p.
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-18256DOI: 10.1039/b818655cISI: 000264349200010ScopusID: 2-s2.0-67649349875OAI: diva2:336302
QC 20100525Available from: 2010-08-05 Created: 2010-08-05 Last updated: 2012-09-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Computational Studies and Design of Biomolecular Diels-Alder Catalysis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Computational Studies and Design of Biomolecular Diels-Alder Catalysis
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Diels-Alder reaction is one of the most powerful synthetic tools in organic chemistry, and asymmetric Diels-Alder catalysis allows for rapid construction of chiral carbon scaffolds. For this reason, considerable effort has been invested in developing efficient and stereoselective organo- and biocatalysts. However, Diels-Alder is a virtually unknown reaction in Nature, and to engineer an enzyme into a Diels-Alderase is therefore a challenging task. Despite several successful designs of catalytic antibodies since the 1980’s, their catalytic activities have remained low, and no true artificial ’Diels-Alderase’ enzyme was reported before 2010.

In this thesis, we employ state-of-the-art computational tools to study the mechanism of organocatalyzed Diels-Alder in detail, and to redesign existing enzymes into intermolecular Diels-Alder catalysts. Papers I–IV explore the mechanistic variations when employing increasingly activated reactants and the effect of catalysis. In particular, the relation between the traditionally presumed concerted mechanism and a stepwise pathway, forming one bond at a time, is probed. Papers V–X deal with enzyme design and the computational aspects of predicting catalytic activity. Four novel, computationally designed Diels-Alderase candidates are presented in Papers VI–IX. In Paper X, a new parameterization of the Linear Interaction Energy model for predicting protein-ligand affinities is presented.

A general finding in this thesis is that it is difficult to attain large transition state stabilization effects solely by hydrogen bond catalysis. In addition, water (the preferred solvent of enzymes) is well-known for catalyzing Diels- Alder by itself. Therefore, an efficient Diels-Alderase must rely on large binding affinities for the two substrates and preferential binding conformations close to the transition state geometry. In Papers VI–VIII, we co-designed the enzyme active site and substrates in order to achieve the best possible complementarity and maximize binding affinity and pre-organization. Even so, catalysis is limited by the maximum possible stabilization offered by hydrogen bonds, and by the inherently large energy barrier associated with the [4+2] cycloaddition.

The stepwise Diels-Alder pathway, proceeding via a zwitterionic intermediate, may offer a productive alternative for enzyme catalysis, since an enzyme active site may be more differentiated towards stabilizing the high-energy states than for the standard mechanism. In Papers I and III, it is demonstrated that a hydrogen bond donor catalyst provides more stabilization of transition states having pronounced charge-transfer character, which shifts the preference towards a stepwise mechanism.

Another alternative, explored in Paper IX, is to use an α,β -unsaturated ketone as a ’pro-diene’, and let the enzyme generate the diene in situ by general acid/base catalysis. The results show that the potential reduction in the reaction barrier with such a mechanism is much larger than for conventional Diels-Alder. Moreover, an acid/base-mediated pathway is a better mimic of how natural enzymes function, since remarkably few catalyze their reactions solely by non-covalent interactions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2012. xii, 138 p.
Trita-CHE-Report, ISSN 1654-1081 ; 2012:34
Computational chemistry, density functional theory, enzyme design, molecular modeling, organocatalysis, stepwise Diels-Alder, oxyanion hole
National Category
Physical Chemistry
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-101706 (URN)978-91-7501-435-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-09-21, K1, Teknikringen 56, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)

QC 20120903

Available from: 2012-09-03 Created: 2012-08-31 Last updated: 2012-09-03Bibliographically approved

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