Biocatalyzed Synthesis of Glycostructures with Anti-infective Activity

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Hoyos Vidal, Pilar
Bavaro, Teodora
Berini, Francesca
Marinelli, Flavia
Terreni, Marco
Hernáiz Gómez-Dégano, María José
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Molecules containing carbohydrate moieties play essential roles in fighting a variety of bacterial and viral infections. Consequently, the design of new carbohydrate-containing drugs or vaccines has attracted great attention in recent years as means to target several infectious diseases. Conventional methods to produce these compounds face numerous challenges because their current production technology is based on chemical synthesis, which often requires several steps and uses environmentally unfriendly reactants, contaminant solvents, and inefficient protocols. The search for sustainable processes such as the use of biocatalysts and eco-friendly solvents is of vital importance. Therefore, their use in a variety of reactions leading to the production of pharmaceuticals has increased exponentially in the last years, fueled by recent advances in protein engineering, enzyme directed evolution, combinatorial biosynthesis, immobilization techniques, and flow biocatalysis. In glycochemistry and glycobiology, enzymes belonging to the families of glycosidases, glycosyltransferases (Gtfs), lipases, and, in the case of nucleoside and nucleotide analogues, also nucleoside phosphorylases (NPs) are the preferred choices as catalysts. In this Account, on the basis of our expertise, we will discuss the recent biocatalytic and sustainable approaches that have been employed to synthesize carbohydrate-based drugs, ranging from antiviral nucleosides and nucleotides to antibiotics with antibacterial activity and glycoconjugates such as neoglycoproteins (glycovaccines, GCVs) and glycodendrimers that are considered as very promising tools against viral and bacterial infections. In the first section, we will report the use of NPs and N-deoxyribosyltransferases for the development of transglycosylation processes aimed at the synthesis of nucleoside analogues with antiviral activity. The use of deoxyribonucleoside kinases and hydrolases for the modification of the sugar moiety of nucleosides has been widely investigated. Next, we will describe the results obtained using enzymes for the chemoenzymatic synthesis of glycoconjugates such as GCVs and glycodendrimers with antibacterial and antiviral activity. In this context, the search for efficient enzymatic syntheses represents an excellent strategy to produce structure-defined antigenic or immunogenic oligosaccharide analogues with high purity. Lipases, glycosidases, and Gtfs have been used for their preparation. Interestingly, many authors have proposed the use Gtfs originating from the biosynthesis of natural glycosylated antibiotics such as glycopeptides, macrolides, and aminoglycosides. These have been used in the chemoenzymatic semisynthesis of novel antibiotic derivatives by modification of the sugar moiety linked to their complex scaffold. These contributions will be described in the last section of this review because of their relevance in the fight against the spreading phenomenon of antibiotic resistance. In this context, the pioneering in vivo synthesis of novel derivatives obtained by genetic manipulation of producer strains (combinatorial biosynthesis) will be shortly described as well. All of these strategies provide a useful and environmentally friendly synthetic toolbox. Likewise, the field represents an illustrative example of how biocatalysis can contribute to the sustainable development of complex glycan-based therapies and how problems derived from the integration of natural tools in synthetic pathways can be efficiently tackled to afford high yields and selectivity. The use of enzymatic synthesis is becoming a reality in the pharmaceutical industry and in drug discovery to rapidly afford collections of new antibacterial or antiviral molecules with improved specificity and better metabolic stability.
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