The synthesis of protein-protein and protein-peptide conjugates is an important capability for producing vaccines, immunotherapeutics, and targeted delivery agents. Herein we show that the enzyme tyrosinase is capable of oxidizing exposed tyrosine residues into o-quinones that react rapidly with cysteine residues on target proteins. This coupling reaction occurs under mild aerobic conditions and has the rare ability to join full-size proteins in under 2 h. The utility of the approach is demonstrated for the attachment of cationic peptides to enhance the cellular delivery of CRISPR-Cas9 20-fold and for the coupling of reporter proteins to a cancer-targeting antibody fragment without loss of its cell-specific binding ability. The broad applicability of this technique provides a new building block approach for the synthesis of protein chimeras.
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