Oxidation-controlled, Strain-Promoted Tellurophene-Alkyne Cycloaddition (OSTAC): A Bioorthogonal Reaction for Fast and Selective Protein Conjugation

18 November 2022, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Noncanonical amino acids (ncAAs) bearing functional groups for bioorthogonal labelling are useful tools for the downstream analysis of nascent polypeptides. However, the methionine analogues commonly used are not optimally recognized by the endogenous protein synthesis machinery. TePhe, a tellurophene bearing phenylalanine analogue, is a promising alternative to the methionine analogues as it is readily accepted, and incorporated, during protein synthesis. However, a bioorthogonal reaction to label TePhe was required to enable protein tagging to facilitate analysis. Here we establish that the tellurophene side chain of TePhe is a potent partner in an oxidation-controlled, strain-promoted tellurophene-alkyne cycloaddition (OSTAC) reaction. Mild oxidation of the tellurophene ring with N-chlorosuccinimide produces a Te(IV) species which undergoes rapid (k > 100 M-1s-1) cycloaddition with bicyclo[6.1.0]nonyne (BCN) resulting in a benzo-fused cyclooctane. Selective reaction of TePhe containing proteins can be achieved in complex protein mixtures. OSTAC reactions can be combined with strain-promoted azide alkyne cycloaddition (SPAAC) and copper catalyzed azide alkyne click (CuAAC) reactions. The favorable properties of the OSTAC reaction will likely find wide application beyond its use with TePhe in chemical biology.



Supplementary materials

Supporting information
File includes supporting figures, full experimental and associated spectral material


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