Ewout De Geyter, Eirini Antonatou, Dimitris Kalaitzakis, Sabina Smolen, Abhishek Iyer, Laure Tack, Emiel Ongenae, Georgios Vassilikogiannakis and Annemieke Madder
Chem. Sci., 2021
Recent dramatic expansion in potential uses of protein conjugates has fueled the development of a wide range of protein modification methods; however, the desirable single-site multi-functionalization of proteins has remained a particularly intransigent challenge. Herein, we present the application of 5-hydroxy-1,5-dihydro-2H-pyrrol-2-ones (5HP2Os) as advantageous alternatives to widely used maleimides for the chemo- and site-selective labeling of cysteine residues within proteins. A variety of 5HP2O building blocks have been synthesized using a one-pot photooxidation reaction starting from simple and readily accessible furans and using visible light and oxygen. These novel reagents display excellent cysteine selectivity and also yield thiol conjugates with superior stability. 5HP2O building blocks offer a unique opportunity to introduce multiple new functionalities into a protein at a single site and in a single step, thus, significantly enhancing the resultant conjugate's properties.