Light-initiated 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition between dehydroalanines and tetrazoles: application to late-stage peptide and protein modifications

Chem Sci. 2023 Aug 22;14(35):9418-9426. doi: 10.1039/d3sc02818f. eCollection 2023 Sep 13.


As an easily introduced noncoded amino acid with unique electrophilicity distinct from the 20 natural amino acids, dehydroalanine (Dha) is not only a precise protein post-translational modification (PTM) insertion tool, but also a promising multifunctional labelling site for peptides and proteins. However, achieving a balance between the reaction rate and mild reaction conditions has been a major challenge in developing novel Dha-modified strategies. Rapid, efficient, and mild Dha modification strategies are highly desired. Additionally, catalyst-free photocontrollable reactions for Dha-containing peptide and protein modification have yet to be developed. Here, we report a photoinitiated 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition reaction between Dha and 2,5-diaryl tetrazoles. Under low-power UV lamp irradiation, this reaction is completed within minutes without catalysis, resulting in a fluorescent pyrazoline-modified peptide or protein with excellent chemoselectivity for Dha residues. Notably, this reaction exhibits complete site-specificity in the modification of thiostrepton, a natural antimicrobial peptide containing multiple Dha residues (Dha3, Dha16, and Dha17), within 20 minutes in high yields. This is currently the fastest reaction for modifying the Dha residue in thiostrepton with clear site-specificity towards Dha16. This photoinitiated reaction also provides a chemoselective strategy for precise functionalization of proteins. Additionally, the rapidity and efficiency of the reaction minimize UV light damage to the biological reaction system. Combined with fluorogenic properties, this photo-controllable methodology can be applied to live cell imaging, further broadening the application scope of the Dha modification methodology.

PMID:37712045 | PMC:PMC10498508 | DOI:10.1039/d3sc02818f


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