Biosynthesis of an Anti-Addiction Agent from the Iboga Plant.

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(-)-Ibogaine and (-)-voacangine are plant derived psychoactives that show promise as treatments for opioid addiction. However, these compounds are produced by hard to source plants, making these chemicals difficult for broad-scale use. Here we report the complete biosynthesis of (-)-voacangine, and de-esterified voacangine, which is converted to (-)-ibogaine by heating, enabling biocatalytic production of these compounds. Notably, (-)-ibogaine and (-)-voacangine are of the opposite enantiomeric configuration compared to the other major alkaloids found in this natural product class. Therefore, this discovery provides insight into enantioselective enzymatic formal Diels-Alder reactions.