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Nature May Produce Reaction thought Earlier to Be in Only Synthetic Chemists' Power

Nature May Produce Reaction thought Earlier to Be in Only Synthetic Chemists' Power

Discovered nearly a century ago, the Diels-Alder reaction has been used by synthetic chemists in many industries to produce everything from morphine to plastics. It turns out nature, too, may be performing Diels-Alder-like reactions, researchers have found. 

New research by the University of Texas at Austin’s Adrian Keatinge-Clay in the Department of Molecular Biosciences and by Hung-wen Liu in the Division of Medicinal Chemistry suggests that it’s not just for synthetic chemists; nature has enzymes that essentially do the same thing.

The finding could help settle a long-running scientific debate. In fact, the scientists now think the sole function of certain enzymes is to catalyze this reaction. This research, which could lead to new pharmaceutical breakthroughs, was published this week in Nature Chemical Biology.

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Thursday, 15 April 2021

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