Artificial concurrent catalytic processes involving enzymes
The concurrent operation of multiple catalysts can lead to enhanced reaction features including (i) simultaneous linear multi-step transformations in a single reaction flask (ii) the control of intermediate equilibria (iii) stereoconvergent transformations (iv) rapid processing of labile reaction products. Enzymes occupy a prominent position for the development of such processes, due to their high potential compatibility with other biocatalysts. Genes for different enzymes can be co-expressed to reconstruct natural or construct artificial pathways and applied in the form of engineered whole cell biocatalysts to carry out complex transformations or, alternatively, the enzymes can be combined in vitro after isolation. Moreover, enzyme variants provide a wider substrate scope for a given reaction and often display altered selectivities and specificities. Man-made transition metal catalysts and engineered or artificial metalloenzymes also widen the range of reactivities and catalysed reactions that are potentially employable. Cascades for simultaneous cofactor or co-substrate regeneration or co-product removal are now firmly established. Many applications of more ambitious concurrent cascade catalysis are only just beginning to appear in the literature. The current review presents some of the most recent examples, with an emphasis on the combination of transition metal with enzymatic catalysis and aims to encourage researchers to contribute to this emerging field.