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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Enzymatic production of optically pure (2'R-cis)-2'-deoxy-3'-thiacytidine (3TC, lamivudine): a potent anti-HIV agent.

Although equipotent in terms of antiviral activity, the two enantiomers of 2'-deoxy-3'-thiacytidine (BCH 189) differ markedly in their cytotoxicity. (2'R-cis)-2'-deoxy-3'-thiacytidine (3TC) is substantially less toxic than its optical antipode, and is undergoing development for the therapy of HIV infection. Cytidine deaminase from Escherichia coli is shown here to deaminate 2'-deoxy-3'-thiacytidine enantioselectively to leave 3TC essentially optically pure. This reaction has been used to develop a process for production of 3TC in multikilogram amounts. The production of cytidine deaminase was enhanced by strain improvement, fermentation development, and finally by cloning and overexpression of the gene. The enzyme was immobilized on Eupergit-C, which allowed it to be reused many times. The biotransformation conditions were optimized so that the best use could be made of the catalyst. A robust scaleable product isolation process was developed to yield the crystalline product. Overall, yields through the resolution process of 76% were obtained. All aspects of this process are capable of substantial further scaleup with only minor modifications.[1]


  1. Enzymatic production of optically pure (2'R-cis)-2'-deoxy-3'-thiacytidine (3TC, lamivudine): a potent anti-HIV agent. Mahmoudian, M., Baines, B.S., Drake, C.S., Hale, R.S., Jones, P., Piercey, J.E., Montgomery, D.S., Purvis, I.J., Storer, R., Dawson, M.J. Enzyme Microb. Technol. (1993) [Pubmed]
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