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Biocatalytic Transformations of Silicon—the Other Group 14 Element

Sarai, Nicholas S. and Levin, Benjamin J. and Roberts, John M. and Katsoulis, Dimitris E. and Arnold, Frances H. (2021) Biocatalytic Transformations of Silicon—the Other Group 14 Element. ACS Central Science, 7 (6). pp. 944-953. ISSN 2374-7943. PMCID PMC8227617. doi:10.1021/acscentsci.1c00182.

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Significant inroads have been made using biocatalysts to perform new-to-nature reactions with high selectivity and efficiency. Meanwhile, advances in organosilicon chemistry have led to rich sets of reactions holding great synthetic value. Merging biocatalysis and silicon chemistry could yield new methods for the preparation of valuable organosilicon molecules as well as the degradation and valorization of undesired ones. Despite silicon’s importance in the biosphere for its role in plant and diatom construction, it is not known to be incorporated into any primary or secondary metabolites. Enzymes have been found that act on silicon-containing molecules, but only a few are known to act directly on silicon centers. Protein engineering and evolution has and could continue to enable enzymes to catalyze useful organosilicon transformations, complementing and expanding upon current synthetic methods. The role of silicon in biology and the enzymes that act on silicon-containing molecules are reviewed to set the stage for a discussion of where biocatalysis and organosilicon chemistry may intersect.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Sarai, Nicholas S.0000-0002-4655-0038
Levin, Benjamin J.0000-0003-3220-9303
Roberts, John M.0000-0001-7733-6301
Katsoulis, Dimitris E.0000-0002-9855-038X
Arnold, Frances H.0000-0002-4027-364X
Additional Information:© 2021 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society. CC-BY-NC-ND. Received: February 9, 2021; Published: May 7, 2021. The authors would like to thank Dr. Sabine Brinkmann-Chen (Caltech) for invaluable scientific discussions and feedback. This work was supported by the Dow University Partnership Initiative under grants 227027AO and 227027AU. N.S.S. is also supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program under Grant No. DGE-1745301. B.J.L. is also supported by a NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship under Award No. F32GM134566. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation or the National Institutes of Health. The authors declare no competing financial interest.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Dow Chemical Company227027AO
Dow Chemical Company227027AU
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE-1745301
NIH Postdoctoral FellowshipF32GM134566
Subject Keywords:Peptides and proteins, Molecules, Silicon, Pharmaceuticals, Biocatalysis
Issue or Number:6
PubMed Central ID:PMC8227617
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210513-144617101
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Biocatalytic Transformations of Silicon—the Other Group 14 Element. Nicholas S. Sarai, Benjamin J. Levin, John M. Roberts, Dimitris E. Katsoulis, and Frances H. Arnold. ACS Central Science 2021 7 (6), 944-953; DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.1c00182
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:109123
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:13 May 2021 22:37
Last Modified:08 Jul 2021 17:22

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