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Sanger’s Reagent Sensitized Photocleavage of Amide Bond for Constructing Photocages and Regulation of Biological Functions

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posted on 30.06.2021, 13:06 authored by Tingwen Wei, Sheng Lu, Jiahui Sun, Zhijun Xu, Xiao Yang, Fang Wang, Yang Ma, Yun Stone Shi, Xiaoqiang Chen
Photolabile groups offer promising tools to study biological processes with high spatial and temporal control. In the investigation, we designed and prepared several new glycine amide derivatives of Sanger’s reagent and demonstrated that they serve as a new class of photocages for Zn2+ and an acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitor. We showed that the mechanism for photocleavage of these substances involves initial light-driven cyclization between the 2,4-dinitrophenyl and glycine methylene groups to form acyl benzimidazole N-oxides, which undergo secondary photoinduced decarboxylation in association with rupture of an amide bond. The cleavage reactions proceed with modest to high quantum yields. We demonstrated that these derivatives can be used in targeted intracellular delivery of Zn2+, fluorescent imaging by light-triggered Zn2+ release, and regulation of biological processes including the enzymatic activity of carbonic anhydrase (CA), negative regulation of N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs), and pulse rate of cardiomyocytes. The successful proof-of-concept examples described above open a new avenue for using Sanger’s reagent-based glycine amides as photocages for the exploration of complex cellular functions and signaling pathways.