Functionalization of protein hexahistidine tags by functional nanoreactors†
A water-soluble Morita–Baylis–Hillman adduct (MBHA) derivative (3) was previously shown to self-assemble in a water environment into functional nanoreactors capable of performing multiple attacks and functionalization of N-acetylhexahistidine. In order to challenge this intriguing reactivity in a model protein more complex than N-acetylhexahistidine, the single-chain Fv antibody CRB0137 was characterized from the point of view of its structure and made to react with 3 in kinetics experiments. The results of these studies suggested that MBHA derivative 3 reacted typically with the amino acid residues of the CRB0137 hexahistidine tag leading to the formation of multi-PEGylated species. Overall, they demonstrate the viability of a new methodology for the site-specific PEGylation of engineered proteins bearing poly-histidine tags.