The application of thiol-yne/thiol-ene reactions to synthesize mono- and bicyclic-stapled peptides and proteins is reported. First, a thiol-ene-based peptide-stapling method in aqueous conditions was developed. This method enabled the efficient stapling of recombinantly expressed coil-coiled proteins. The resulting stapled protein demonstrated higher stability in its secondary structure than the unstapled version. Furthermore, a thiol-yne coupling was performed by using an α,ω-diyne to react with two cysteine residues to synthesize a stapled peptide with two vinyl sulfide groups. The stapled peptide could further react with another biscysteine peptide to yield a bicyclic stapled peptide with enhanced properties. For example, the cell permeability of a stapled peptide was further increased by appending an oligoarginine cell-penetrating peptide. The robustness and versatility of thiol-yne/thiol-ene reactions that can be applied to both synthetic and expressed peptides and proteins were demonstrated.
Keywords: peptide macrocyclization; peptide stapling; thiol-ene coupling; thiol-yne coupling.
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