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N-Alkyl-α-amino acids in Nature and their biocatalytic preparation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Julia F. Hyslop, Sarah L. Lovelock, Allan J. B. Watson, Peter W. Sutton, Gheorghe-Doru Roiban

School/Research organisations


N-alkylated-α-amino acids are useful building blocks for the pharmaceutical and fine chemical industries. Enantioselective methods of N-alkylated-α-amino acid synthesis are therefore highly valuable and widely investigated. While there are a variety of chemical methods for their synthesis, they often employ stoichiometric quantities of hazardous reagents such as pyrophoric metal hydrides or genotoxic alkylating agents, whereas biocatalytic routes can provide a greener and cleaner alternative to existing methods. This review highlights the occurrence of the N-alkyl-α-amino acid motif and its role in nature, important applications towards human health and biocatalytic methods of preparation. Several enzyme classes that can be used to access chiral N-alkylated-α-amino acids and their substrate selectivities are detailed.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-65
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biotechnology
Early online date26 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2019

    Research areas

  • N-Alkyl-α-amino acids, Biocatalysis, N-Methyl transferases, Dehydrogenases

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