Expedient and generic synthesis of imidazole nucleosides by enzymatic transglycosylation†
A straightforward route to original imidazole-based nucleosides that makes use of an enzymatic N-transglycosylation step is reported in both the ribo- and deoxyribo-series. To illustrate the scope of this approach, a diverse set of 4-aryl and 4-heteroaryl-1H-imidazoles featuring variable sizes and hydrogen-bonding patterns was prepared using a microwave-assisted Suzuki–Miyaura cross-coupling reaction. These imidazole derivatives were examined as possible substrates for the nucleoside 2′-deoxyribosyltransferase from L. leichmannii and the purine nucleoside phosphorylase from E. coli. The optimum transglycosylation conditions, including the use of co-adjuvants to address solubility issues, were defined. Enzymatic conversion of 4-(hetero)arylimidazoles to 2′-deoxyribo- or ribo-nucleosides proceeded in good to high conversion yields, except bulky hydrophobic imidazole derivatives. Nucleoside deoxyribosyltransferase of class II was found to convert the widest range of functionalized imidazoles into 2′-deoxyribonucleosides and was even capable of bis-glycosylating certain heterocyclic substrates. Our findings should enable chemoenzymatic access to a large diversity of flexible nucleoside analogues as molecular probes, drug candidates and original building blocks for synthetic biology.