In this paper, we introduce vinylphosphonites for chemoselective Staudinger-phosphonite reactions (SPhR) with azides to form vinylphosphonamidates for the subsequent modification of cysteine residues in peptides and proteins. An electron-rich alkene is turned into an electron-deficient vinylphosphonamidate, thereby inducing electrophilic reactivity for a following thiol addition. We show that by varying the phosphonamidate ester substituent we can fine-tune the reactivity of the thiol addition and even control the functional properties of the final conjugate. Furthermore, we observed a drastic increase in thiol addition efficiency when the SPhR is carried out in the presence of a thiol substrate in a one-pot reaction. Hence, we utilize vinylphosphonites for the chemoselective intramolecular cyclization of peptides carrying an azide-containing amino acid and a cysteine in high yields. Our concept was demonstrated for the stapling of a cell-permeable peptidic inhibitor for protein–protein interaction (PPI) between BCL9 and beta-catenin, which is known to create a transcription factor complex playing a role in embryonic development and cancer origin, and for macrocyclization of cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) to enhance the cellular uptake of proteins.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Bioorthogonal and click chemistry: Celebrating the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry