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Enzymatic Desymmetrization of Prochiral Molecules

[ Vol. 9 , Issue. 6 ]


Jose M. Palomo and Zaida Cabrera   Pages 791 - 805 ( 15 )


Desymmetrization of prochiral compounds is one of the most efficient methods to obtain enantiomerically pure compounds (yield close to 100%); proof of this is its growing application over the last decade in the synthesis of key chiral intermediates used in the preparation of important biologically active compounds. Enzymes are highly specific, enantio- and regioselective catalysts that operate under relatively mild conditions and therefore represent an interesting alternative to chemical methods. This review describes significant progress, particularly from 2006 onwards, in enzymatic desymmetrization of prochiral compounds such as diesters, anhydrides, diamines and diols, where implementation of this strategy has allowed the design of new and improved synthesis routes, establishing it as one of the best alternatives for the preparation of optically active compounds.


Biocatalysis, Enzymes, Lipase, Desymmetrization, prochiral compounds, Enantioselectivity, Asymmetric hydrolysis, Asymmetric synthesis, Chiral intermediates.


Departamento de Biocatalisis. Instituto de Catalisis (CSIC) Campus UAM Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain.

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