Regioselective Enzymatic Halogenation of Substituted Tryptophan Derivatives using the FAD–Dependent Halogenase RebH

Regioselective methods to establish carbon–halide bonds are still rare, although halogenation is considered as a commonly used methodology for the functionalization of organic compounds. The incorporation of halogen substituents by organic synthesis usually requires hazardous conditions, shows poor regioselectivity and results in the formation of unwanted byproducts. In addition, halogenation by electrophilic aromatic substitution (SEAr) obeys distinct rules depending on electronwithdrawing or –donating groups already present in the aromatic ring. We employed the tryptophan–7–halogenase RebH for regioselective enzymatic halogenation to overcome these limitations. In combination with a tryptophan synthase, an array of C5– and C6–substituted tryptophan derivatives was synthesized and halogenated by RebH. The halogenase is able override these directing effects and halogenates at the electronically unfavored C7–meta–position, even in presence of ortho/para–directing groups.

Marcel Frese, Paulina H. Guzowska, Hauke Voß, Norbert Sewald, ChemCatChem, 2014, 6(5), 1270–1276