Improving lipase enantioselectivity in organic solvents by forming substrate salts with chiral agents

Jong Shik Shin, Susana Luque, Alexander M. Klibanov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


We recently demonstrated (J Am Chem Soc 121:3334-3340, 1999) that enzymatic enantioselectivity in organic solvents can be markedly enhanced by temporarily enlarging the substrate via salt formation. In the present study, this approach was expanded by finding that, in addition to its size, the stereochemistry of the counterion can greatly affect the enantioselectivity enhancement. For example, the enantioselectivity [E = (k(cat)/ K(M)) (s)/(k(cat)/ K(M))(R)] of crystalline Pseudomonas cepacia lipase in the propanolysis of phenylalanine methyl ester (PheOMe) in anhydrous acetonitrile was found to be 5.8 ± 0.6; the E value doubled when PheOMe's salt with S mandelic acid was used as a substrate instead of the free ester, and rose sevenfold with R mandelic acid as a Bronsted-Lowry acid. Similar effects were observed with other bulky, but not petite, counterions. The greatest enantioselectivity enhancement was afforded by 10-camphorsulfonic acid: the E value increased to 18 ± 2 for a salt with its R enantiomer and jumped to 53 ± 4 for the S. These effects, also observed in other organic solvents, were explained by means of structure-based molecular modeling of the lipase-bound transition states of the substrate enantiomers and their diastereomeric salts. (C) 2000 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-583
Number of pages7
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2000 Sept 5

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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