Simultaneous and Traceless Ligation of Peptide Fragments on DNA Scaffold

Biomacromolecules. 2019 Mar 11;20(3):1246-1253. doi: 10.1021/acs.biomac.8b01655. Epub 2019 Feb 7.


Peptide ligation is an indispensable step in the chemical synthesis of target peptides and proteins that are difficult to synthesize at once by a solid-phase synthesis. The ligation reaction is generally conducted with two peptide fragments at a high aqueous concentration to increase the reaction rate; however, this often causes unpredictable aggregation and precipitation of starting or resulting peptides due to their hydrophobicities. Here, we have developed a novel peptide ligation strategy harnessing the two intrinsic characteristics of oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs), i.e., their hydrophilicity and hybridization ability, which allowed increases in the water solubility of peptides and the reaction kinetics due to the proximity effect, respectively. Peptide-ODN conjugates that can be cleaved to regenerate native peptide sequences were synthesized using novel lysine derivatives containing conjugation handles and photolabile linkers, via solid-phase peptide synthesis and subsequent conjugation to 15-mer ODNs. Two complementary conjugates were applied to carbodiimide-mediated peptide ligation on a DNA scaffold, and the subsequent DNA removal was conducted by photoirradiation in a traceless fashion. This DNA scaffold-assisted ligation resulted in a significant acceleration of the reaction kinetics and enabled ligation of a hydrophobic peptide at a micromolar concentration. On the basis of this chemistry, a simultaneous ligation of three different peptide fragments on two different DNA scaffolds has been conducted for the first time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA / chemistry*
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Kinetics
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides / chemistry
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry*
  • Solid-Phase Synthesis Techniques


  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides
  • Peptide Fragments
  • DNA