Strategies for chemoenzymatic synthesis of carbohydrates

Wanqing Li, John B. McArthur, Xi Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Carbohydrates are structurally complex but functionally important biomolecules. Therefore, they have been challenging but attractive synthetic targets. While substantial progress has been made on advancing chemical glycosylation methods, incorporating enzymes into carbohydrate synthetic schemes has become increasingly practical as more carbohydrate biosynthetic and metabolic enzymes as well as their mutants with synthetic application are identified and expressed for preparative and large-scale synthesis. Chemoenzymatic strategies that integrate the flexibility of chemical derivatization with enzyme-catalyzed reactions have been extremely powerful. Briefly summarized here are our experiences on developing one-pot multienzyme (OPME) systems and representative chemoenzymatic strategies from others using glycosyltransferase-catalyzed reactions for synthesizing diverse structures of oligosaccharides, polysaccharides, and glycoconjugates. These strategies allow the synthesis of complex carbohydrates including those containing naturally occurring carbohydrate postglycosylational modifications (PGMs) and non-natural functional groups. By combining these srategies with facile purification schemes, synthetic access to the diverse space of carbohydrate structures can be automated and will not be limited to specialists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-97
Number of pages12
JournalCarbohydrate Research
StatePublished - Jan 15 2019


  • Carbohydrate synthesis
  • Chemoenzymatic synthesis
  • Enzyme engineering
  • Glycolipid
  • Glycosyltransferase
  • Regioselective

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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