I would like to know, is there any enzyme which does the transformation of hydroxyl group to any other functional group using the enzyme.

The substrate is aromatic hydroxyl group. Product should not have hydroxyl group.

How should these types of queries be searched for?

  • $\begingroup$ This question is not answerable without a lot more detail. Enzymes are often very specific about which substrates they accept, so you need to provide more detail about the substrates. $\endgroup$ Mar 13, 2012 at 13:09
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    $\begingroup$ I will start querying for some dehydratase or dehydroxylase and look if some of them work on aromatic groups. $\endgroup$ Mar 13, 2012 at 13:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Jonsca and Gergana Vandova, I am an organic chemist / synthetic chemist and would like to try with enzyme reactions. I had done the reactions using chemical route. The aromatic part is coumarin. $\endgroup$
    – Anil
    Mar 14, 2012 at 4:50
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    $\begingroup$ I'm beginning to like this question more and more. Try looking up "retro-biosynthetic design". Kristala Prather has done a lot of work in the type of question that you're specifically looking at. $\endgroup$
    – bobthejoe
    Mar 14, 2012 at 8:41
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    $\begingroup$ @leonardo, as i have already mentioned, i would like to diversify my research towards biochemical reactions. Being an organic chemist, i have manipulated the functional groups and now i wish to manipulate using biochemical reactions. $\endgroup$
    – Anil
    Mar 16, 2012 at 16:23

1 Answer 1


It is possible to search for enzymes or a series of enzymes that will take similar reactants to similar products.

ReBIT allows you to query enzymes by your molecular structures of interest using their SMILES code. Unfortunately, a quick search using coumarin didn't produce any results but searches for phenol and phenolate gave some hits.

If you're seeking to do a more extensive search, I would suggest BRENDA. There you can search for reaction substrates and reaction products and even both. Both strategies may provide you with an enzyme that does the transformation chemistry that you're looking for.

Lastly there is always ENZYME, The Enzyme Data Bank. There you can search for chemical compounds. I did a search of coumarin and there are a few hits but they are for methyl-transferases and hydrolases. A more extensive search may give you a few leads.

Most of the concepts that I just suggested are explained in the following review: De novo biosynthetic pathways: rational design of microbial chemical factories.


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