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    Enzymes frequently use unimpressive functional groups such as weak carboxylic acids for efficient, highly selective catalysis including hydrolysis of acetals and even amides. Much stronger acids generally have to be used for such purposes in synthetic systems. We report here a method to position an acidic group near the acetal oxygen of 2-(4-nitrophenyl)-1,3-dioxolane bound by an artificial enzyme. The hydrolytic activity of the resulting artificial enzyme-cofactor complex was tuned by the number and depth of the active site as well as the hydrophobicity and acidity of the cofactor. The selectivity of the complex was controlled by the size and shape of the active site and enabled less reactive acetals to be hydrolyzed over more reactive ones.


    Ishani Bose, Shixin Fa, Yan Zhao. Tunable Artificial Enzyme-Cofactor Complex for Selective Hydrolysis of Acetals. The Journal of organic chemistry. 2021 Jan 15;86(2):1701-1711

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    PMID: 33397107

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