Chiral synthesis of 3-amino-1-phenylbutane by a multi-enzymatic cascade system

Natàlia Alcover, Gregorio Álvaro, Marina Guillén*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Asymmetric synthesis of chiral amines from prochiral ketones using transaminases is an attractive biocatalytic strategy. Nevertheless, it is hampered by its unfavorable thermodynamic equilibrium. In the present work, an insitu by-product removal strategy was applied for the synthesis of 3-amino-1-phenylbutane (3-APB) by coupling a transaminase with a pyruvate decarboxylase (PDC), which does not require the use of any expensive additional cofactor. Using this strategy, the pyruvate obtained in the transamination reaction is transformed by PDC into acetaldehyde and CO2 which are of high volatility. Two different transaminases from Chromobacterium violaceum (CviTA) and Vibrio fluvialis (VflTA) were characterized to find out the appropriate pH conditions. In both cases, the addition of PDC dramatically enhanced 3-APB synthesis. Afterwards, different reaction conditions were tested to improve reaction conversion and yield. It was concluded that 30 °C and a 20-fold alanine excess lead to the best process metrics. Under the mentioned conditions, yields higher than 60% were reached with nearly 90% selectivity using both CviTA and VflTA. Moreover, high stereoselectivity for (S)-3-APB was obtained and ee of around 90% was achieved in both cases. For the first time, the asymmetric synthesis of 3-APB using PDC as by-product removal system using CviTA is reported.

Original languageEnglish
Article number973
Number of pages13
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2021


  • Chiral amine
  • Multi-enzymatic system
  • Pyruvate decarboxylase (PDC)
  • Transaminase


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