Chemistry of Bifunctional Photoprobes. 3. Correlation between the Efficiency of CH Insertion by Photolabile Chelating Agents and Lifetimes of Singlet Nitrenes by Flash Photolysis:  First Example of Photochemical Attachment of 99mTc−Complex with Human Serum Albumin

Systematic functionalization of perfluoroaryl azides with chelating agents capable of complexing transition metals produces a new class of bifunctional photolabile chelating agents (BFPCAs). The strategy to shield the azide functionality from the electronic and steric influence of the electron-rich metal Pd through ester and amide bridges raised CH insertion efficiency to unprecedented levels (>92%) in a model solvent (cyclohexane). In contrast, perfluoroaryl azides attached to chelating agents via hydrazones show no significant CH insertion in cyclohexane upon photolysis. Measurements of the lifetimes of the singlet nitrenes derived from these agents by flash photolysis techniques correlate well with the efficiency of CH insertion by demonstrating longer lifetimes (10−50 times) for singlet nitrenes derived from azidotetrafluorinated esters and amides compared with the related hydrazones, which failed to yield significant CH insertion. A representative BFPCA 12 is chelated to diagnostic radionuclide 99mTc and covalently attached to human serum albumin via photochemical activation extending the favorable bimolecular insertion characteristics of BFPCA to tracer level concentrations in buffer conditions. Flash photolysis experiments correlate singlet nitrene lifetimes with the efficiency of intermolecular insertion reactions. This work provides new photo-cross-linking technology, useful in radiodiagnostics and radiotherapy in nuclear medicine.