Boronic acids as building blocks for the construction of therapeutically useful bioconjugates
Bioconjugates are multifunctional constructs in which biomolecules like peptides, proteins, vitamins and nucleic acids are endowed with the properties of specific payloads. These constructs recently emerged as a new generation of high-precision therapeutics, with several representatives reaching the market. This success stimulated an intense search for new biocompatible synthetic methodologies to connect both components and to control the bioconjugate's function. Despite the remarkable advances made in this field, most of the technologies developed for the construction of bioconjugates were engineered to yield stable constructs that can endure complex physiological conditions. Because of this, the use of reversible covalent bonds in the synthesis of bioconjugates has been rather overlooked, notwithstanding the potential of this strategy to generate stimuli responsive constructs that may operate in areas like the selective delivery of drugs, live-cell imaging and new theranostic approaches. Boronic acids are a well-known class of reagents that have been widely used in modern synthesis for the formation of C–C and C–heteroatom bonds. Apart from this, boronic acids exhibit an exquisite reversible coordination profile that can be explored as a molecular construction tool featuring specific mechanisms to control the structure and biological properties of bioconjugates. In this review, the use of boronic acids in the construction of therapeutically useful bioconjugates will be discussed, focusing on the molecular mechanisms that allow the use of these reagents as bioconjugation warheads, as central pieces of linker structures and as functional payloads.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Contemporary Research in Boron Chemistry