Efficient formation of heterodimers from peptides and proteins using unsymmetrical polyfluorophenyl esters of dicarboxylic acids

Authors: Slosarczyk, Adam T.; Baltzer, Lars; Journal of Peptide Science; (2012); 10.1002/psc.2394

An efficient method for the heteroconjugation of biomolecules carrying free amino groups was reported previously, where mixed polyfluorophenyl diesters of dicarboxylic acids with varied aliphatic chain length were shown to be efficient reagents for the conjugation of a variety of model biomolecules. The concept was based on the differential reactivity of the esters towards amines. The concept has now been further optimized, and a 2,6-difluorophenyl-pentafluorophenyl diester combination has been demonstrated to be the most efficient, both with respect to selectivity and to reaction rate. A pentafluorophenyl ester reacts faster with an amino group and requires a weaker base than a 2,6-difluorophenyl ester that requires a stronger base and longer reaction time. With the use of this combination of esters, we obtained considerably shortened reaction times compared with those reported previously, yet still retaining the desired selectivity in heteroconjugation. The increased reactivity of the bifunctional reagent allowed the construction of sophisticated peptide heteroconjugates from peptides, carbohydrates and proteins, showing a wide scope of applicability in the field of assembling functional bioconjugates.