Profiling Sulfur(VI) Fluorides as Reactive Functionalities for Chemical Biology Tools and Expansion of the Ligandable Proteome

16 February 2022, Version 2
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Chemical probes are valuable tools to explore the function of proteins. Incorporation of electrophiles into small molecules enables covalent capture of protein interactions and provides access to powerful technologies including chemoproteomic profiling and reactive fragment screening. Current approaches have been largely limited to protein pockets containing cysteine, so establishing strategies to target other amino acid residues is essential to expanding the applicability across the proteome. Here, we profiled sulfur(VI) fluorides (SVI-F) as reactive functionalities that can modify multiple residues including Lys, Tyr, His and Ser, thus offering utility for targeting almost any protein. These studies provided an in-depth understanding of SVI-F functionalities, including hydrolytic stability, protein reactivity and utility in chemoproteomics. Such insights offer a valuable guide for the prospective design of SVI-F-containing ligands for various chemical biology workflows and illustrate the wide range of proteins that SVI-Fs can capture, thus highlighting the opportunity for SVI-Fs to expand the liganded proteome.


covalent probes
sulfonyl fluoride
chemical biology
covalent fragment screening

Supplementary materials

Supplementary information
Supplementary figures; experimental methods including synthesis and characterisation of new compounds; computational methods.


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