Transition metal catalysts for the bioorthogonal synthesis of bioactive agents

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The incorporation of abiotic transition metal catalysis into the chemical biology space has significantly expanded the toolkit of bioorthogonal chemistries accessible for cell culture and in vivo applications. A rich variety of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts has shown functional compatibility with physiological conditions and biostability in complex environs, enabling their exploitation as extra- or intracellular factories of bioactive agents. Current trends in the field are focusing on investigating new metals and sophisticated catalytic devices, and towards more applied activities, such as the integration of subcellular-, cell- and site-targeting capabilities or the exploration of novel biomedical applications. We present herein an overview of the latest advances in the field, highlighting the increasing role of transition metals for the controlled release of therapeutics
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent opinion in chemical biology
Early online date2 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Nov 2020


  • Bioorthogonal chemistry
  • transition metal catalysis
  • homogeneous catalysts
  • heterogeneous catalysts
  • prodrug activation

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