ActivitiesA research group including Associate Professor Nishikata et al. has developed the basic technology to produce amino acids that cannot be obtained in nature. 2017.10.20

Amino acids with large structures are attracting attention in the pharmaceuticals field because they interact strongly with imaging agents and specific cells. However, until now, introducing amino groups into (amination of) large reaction sites has been extremely difficult because replacing a carbon atom by a complex compound results in steric crowding around it, and the kinds of amino acids that can be used have been limited (Figure 1).


A group including Associate Professor Takashi Nishikata (Tenure Track Staff) of the Division of Applied Chemistry at Yamaguchi University Graduate School of Sciences and Technology for Innovation and Associate Professor Yusuke Sunada of the Department of Materials and Environmental Science at the University of Tokyo Institute of Industrial Science has successfully achieved an amination reaction between an α-bromoamide compound and amine, using a copper catalyst (Figure 2). Using this principle, it will be possible to introduce amino groups into sterically large reaction sites, and produce a variety of unnatural amino acid derivatives. While there are constraints on the types and structures of natural amino acids, there are no constraints on the types and structures of unnatural amino acids, and it is theoretically possible to give them an unlimited range of anticipated functions. Applications in a wide range of fields are anticipated, starting with the pharmaceuticals field.

The research results were published in Angewandte Chemie, International Edition (IF=11.994).