Organic Chemistry

Protein Modification at Tyrosine with Iminoxyl Radicals



Post-translational modifications (PTMs) of proteins are a biological mechanism for reversibly controlling protein function. Synthetic protein modifications (SPMs) at specific canonical amino acids can mimic PTMs. However, reversible SPMs at hydrophobic amino acid residues in proteins are especially limited. Here we report a tyrosine (Tyr)-selective SPM utilizing persistent iminoxyl radicals, which are readily generated from sterically hindered oximes via single electron oxidation. The reactivity of iminoxyl radicals with Tyr was dependent on the steric and electronic demands of oximes; isopropyl methyl piperidinium oxime 1f formed stable adducts, whereas the reaction of tert-butyl methyl piperidinium oxime 1o was reversible. The difference in reversibility between 1f and 1o, differentiated only by one methyl group, is due to the stability of iminoxyl radicals, which is partly dictated by the bond dissociation energy of oxime O‒H groups. The Tyr-selective modifications with 1f and 1o proceeded under physiologically-relevant, mild conditions. Specifically, the stable Tyr-modification with 1f introduced functional small molecules, including an azobenzene photoswitch, to proteins, whereas the reversible modification of Tyr with 1o switched protein function on and off in an enzyme and in a monoclonal antibody by modification and deconjugation processes.

Version notes

Experimental procedures, characterization data, computational procedure, and data were newly added and fully updated.


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Supplementary material

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SI_Protein Modification at Tyrosine with Iminoxyl Radicals
Experimental procedures, characterization data, computational pro-cedure, and data.