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PEGylation and Dimerization of Expressed Proteins under Near Equimolar Conditions with Potassium 2‑Pyridyl Acyltrifluoroborates

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journal contribution
posted on 05.01.2018, 21:18 authored by Christopher J. White, Jeffrey W. Bode
The covalent conjugation of large, functionalized molecules remains a frontier in synthetic chemistry, as it requires rapid, chemoselective reactions. The potassium acyltrifluoroborate (KAT)–hydroxylamine amide-forming ligation shows promise for conjugations of biomolecules under aqueous, acidic conditions, but the variants reported to date are not suited to ligations at micromolar concentrations. We now report that 2-pyridyl KATs display significantly enhanced ligation kinetics over their aryl counterparts. Following their facile, one-step incorporation onto the termini of polyethylene glycol (PEG) chains, we show that 2-pyridyl KATs can be applied to the construction of protein–polymer conjugates in excellent (>95%) yield. Four distinct expressed, folded proteins equipped with a hydroxylamine could be PEGylated with 2–20 kDa 2-pyridyl mPEG KATs in high yield and with near-equimolar amounts of coupling partners. Furthermore, the use of a bis 2-pyridyl PEG KAT enables the covalent homodimerization of proteins with good conversion. The 2-pyridyl KAT ligation offers an effective alternative to conventional protein–polymer conjugation by operating under aqueous acidic conditions well suited for the handling of folded proteins.

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