A benzylic linker promotes methyltransferase catalyzed norbornene transfer for rapid bioorthogonal tetrazine ligation
Site-specific alkylation of complex biomolecules is critical for late-stage product diversification as well as post-synthetic labeling and manipulation of proteins and nucleic acids. Promiscuous methyltransferases in combination with analogs of S-adenosyl-L-methionine (AdoMet) can functionalize all major classes of biomolecules. We show that benzylic moieties are transferred by Ecm1 with higher catalytic efficiency than the natural AdoMet. A relative specificity of up to 80% is achieved when a norbornene moiety is placed in para-position, enabling for the first time enzymatic norbornene transfer to specific positions in DNA and RNA— even in cell lysate. Subsequent tetrazine ligation of the stable norbornene moiety is fast, efficient, biocompatible and – in combination with an appropriate tetrazine – fluorogenic.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Celebrating Excellence in Research: 100 Women of Chemistry