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Short Peptide Tag for Covalent Protein Labeling Based on Coiled Coils

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journal contribution
posted on 15.01.2014, 00:00 by Jianpeng Wang, Yongsheng Yu, Jiang Xia
To label proteins covalently, one faces a trade-off between labeling a protein specifically and using a small tag. Often one must compromise one parameter for the other or use additional components, such as an enzyme, to satisfy both requirements. Here, we report a new reaction that covalently labels proteins by using engineered coiled-coil peptides. Harnessing the concept of “proximity-induced reactivity”, the 21-amino-acid three-heptad peptides CCE/CCK were modified with a nucleophilic cysteine and an α-chloroacetyl group at selected positions. When pairs of coiled coils associated, an irreversible covalent bond spontaneously formed between the peptides. The specificity of the cross-linking reaction was characterized, the probes were improved by making them bivalent, and the system was used to label a protein in vitro and receptors on the surface of mammalian cells.