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Modular design of organocatalysts by combination of subunits effective in complementary catalytic mechanisms (ModDesgnOrgcat)
Start date: 01 May 2009, End date: 30 Apr 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The selective catalysis by conventional and simple organic molecules, despite of its simplicity, has created an extraordinary impact on chemistry. Not only the continuous emergence of organocatalysts increases the availability of tools for the efficient synthesis of new products, but also contributes to the understanding of the mechanisms of actions of more complicated catalysts, as for example, the relevant natural enzymes.The first organocatalytic were discovered almost by chance, after the examination of the behavior of (sometimes well-known) natural products (as, for example, proline) with conventional reactants. Nevertheless, the discover of a second generation of organocatalysts requires a careful design based on the knowledge of the reaction mechanisms. This design usually consists in the modification of existing and successful organocatalyst, to enhance (or suppress) few of its characteristics.In contrast, in this proposal we suggest the employment of a modular approach to this design, consisting first in the identification of the chemical units responsible for the catalysis, and secondly in a simple design of the correct combination of these fragments, according to the mechanism of the desired reaction. In the first step, the fragments responsible for catalysis will not only be inspired in the wide spectra of organocatalyst published so far, but also in the identification of the role that different aminoacid residues plays in the overall catalytic activity of enzymes. This open the possibility of obtaining an extremely valuable information of the enzymatic mechanism based on the mechanism of the synthetic, modular, organocatalysts, which has to be considered very positively jointly with the relevance of providing new catalysts to the arsenal of synthetic organic procedures.
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