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

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


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


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


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