Artificial metalloenzymes: From selective chemical transformations to biochemical applications

Tomoki Himiyama, Yasunori Okamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Artificial metalloenzymes (ArMs) comprise a synthetic metal complex in a protein scaffold. ArMs display performances combining those of both homogeneous catalysts and biocatalysts. Specifically, ArMs selectively catalyze non-natural reactions and reactions inspired by nature in water under mild conditions. In the past few years, the construction of ArMs that possess a genetically incorporated unnatural amino acid and the directed evolution of ArMs have become of great interest in the field. Additionally, biochemical applications of ArMs have steadily increased, owing to the fact that compartmentalization within a protein scaffold allows the synthetic metal complex to remain functional in a sea of inactivating biomolecules. In this review, we present updates on: 1) the newly reported ArMs, according to their type of reaction, and 2) the unique biochemical applications of ArMs, including chemoenzymatic cascades and intracellular/in vivo catalysis. We believe that ArMs have great potential as catalysts for organic synthesis and as chemical biology tools for pharmaceutical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2989
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jul


  • Artificial metalloenzyme
  • Chemoenzymatic cascade
  • Directed evolution
  • Intracellular catalysis
  • Organometallic catalysis
  • Protein engineering
  • Selective chemical transformation


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