Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Covalent Modification of Biomolecules through Maleimide-Based Labeling Strategies

Kévin Renault, Jean Wilfried Fredy, Pierre-Yves Renard, and Cyrille Sabot

Bioconjugate Chem., 2018, 29 (8),  2497–2513
DOI: 10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.8b00252

Since their first use in bioconjugation more than 50 years ago, maleimides have become privileged chemical partners for the site-selective modification of proteins via thio-Michael addition of biothiols and, to a lesser extent, via Diels–Alder (DA) reactions with biocompatible dienes. Prominent examples include immunotoxins and marketed maleimide-based antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs) such as Adcetris, which are used in cancer therapies. Among the key factors in the success of these groups is the availability of several maleimides that can be N-functionalized by fluorophores, affinity tags, spin labels, and pharmacophores, as well as their unique reactivities in terms of selectivity and kinetics. However, maleimide conjugate reactions have long been considered irreversible, and only recently have systematic studies regarding their reversibility and stability toward hydrolysis been reported. This review provides an overview of the diverse applications for maleimides in bioconjugation, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses, which are being overcome by recent strategies. Finally, the fluorescence quenching ability of maleimides was leveraged for the preparation of fluorogenic probes, which are mainly used for the specific detection of thiol analytes. A summary of the reported structures, their photophysical features, and their relative efficiencies is discussed in the last part of the review.

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