• asymmetric catalysis;
  • C[BOND]C bond-formation;
  • carboligation;
  • enzyme catalysis;
  • ThDP


The thiamine diphosphate (ThDP)-dependent enzyme cyclohexane-1,2-dione hydrolase (CDH) was expressed in Escherichia coli and purified by affinity chromatography (Ni-NTA). Recombinant CDH showed the same C[BOND]C bond-cleavage and C[BOND]C bond-formation activities as the native enzyme. Furthermore, we have shown that CDH catalyzes the asymmetric cross-benzoin reaction of aromatic aldehydes and (decarboxylated) pyruvate (up to quantitative conversion, 92–99 % ee). CDH accepts also hydroxybenzaldehydes and nitrobenzaldehydes; these previously have not (or only in rare cases) been known as substrates of other ThDP-dependent enzymes. On a semipreparative scale, sterically demanding 4-(tert-butyl)benzaldehyde and 2-naphthaldehyde were transformed into the corresponding 2-hydroxy ketone products in high yields. Additionally, certain benzaldehydes with electron withdrawing substituents were identified as potential inhibitors of the ligase activity of CDH.