Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Arigoni, Duilio
Location ETH Zurich
Primary Field Chemistry
Secondary Field Biochemistry
 Election Citation
Duilio Arigoni is one of the world's leading bio-organic chemists and one of the founders of bio-organic stereochemistry. From Switzerland, his major contributions are in the stereochemistry of enzyme-catalyzed reactions and in the biosynthesis of terpenes, alkaloids, and enzyme cofactors.
 Research Interests
The research interests in my group have focused on the structure and biosynthesis of natural products as well as on mechanistic studies of enzyme-catalyzed processes with a strong emphasis on sterochemical details. In the area of natural products, the choice of a specific topic was dictated by the biological importance of the compounds and/or by the evaluation of structural leads betraying the operation of nonconventional biogenetic pathways. The host-specific toxins from Helminthosporium sacchari, Cochliobolus victoriae, and Periconia circinata (investigated in cooperation with V. Macko) provide examples for the first group, while investigations on the biosynthesis of the macrocyclic tetraethers from Archebacteria and of the complex isoprenoid components of Ginkgo biloba are representative for the second motivation. A prominent aspect of the mechanistic studies of enzymic reactions was the development of a methodology for the preparation and detection of chiral methyl groups, a goal simultaneously and independently achieved by Professors Cornforth and Eggerer. The non-trivial problem of differentiating between the homotopic groups of compounds with a local C3 symmetry has been extended to the preparation of a chiral form of pivalic acid, and three different methodologies have been elaborated for analyzing the sense of chirality of such probes.

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