Biocatalytic hydrogen atom transfer: an invigorating approach to free-radical reactions

Yuji Nakano, Kyle F. Biegasiewicz, Todd K. Hyster

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Initiating and terminating free-radical reactionis via hydrogen atom transfer (HAT) is an attractive means of avoiding substrate prefunctionalization. Small molecule catalysts and reagents, however, struggle to execute this fundamental step with useful levels of diastereoselectivity and enantioselectivity. In contrast, nature often carries out HAT with exquisite levels of selectivity for even electronically unactivated carbon–hydrogen bonds. By understanding how enzymes exploit and control this fundamental step, new strategies can be developed to address several long-standing challenges in free-radical reactions. This review will cover recent discoveries in biocatalysis that exploit a HAT mechanism to either initiate or terminate novel one-electron reactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-24
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Opinion in Chemical Biology
StatePublished - Apr 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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