Wang Wan Yanan Huang Qiuxuan Xia Yulong Bai Yuwen Chen Wenhan Jin Mengdie Wang Di Shen Haochen Lyu Yuqi Tang Xuepeng Dong Zhenming Gao Qun Zhao Lihua Zhang Yu Liu
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2021
Covalent chemical reactions to modify aggregated proteins are rare. Here, we reported covalent Michael addition can generally occur upon protein aggregation. Such reactivity was initially discovered by a bioinspired fluorescent color‐switch probe mimicking the photo‐conversion mechanism of Kaede fluorescent protein. This probe was dark with folded proteins but turned on red fluorescence (620 nm) when it non‐covalently bound to misfolded proteins. Supported by the biochemical and mass spectrometry results, the probe chemoselectively reacted with the reactive cysteines of aggregated proteins via covalent Michael addition and gradually switched to green fluorescence (515 nm) upon protein aggregation. Exploiting this Michael addition chemistry in the malachite green dye derivatives demonstrated its general applicability and chemical tunability, resulting in different fluorescence color‐switch responses. Our work may offer a new avenue to explore other chemical reactions upon protein aggregation and design covalent probes for imaging, chemical proteomics, and therapeutic purposes.