Chemical synthesis of Shiga toxin subunit B using a next-generation traceless “helping hand” solubilizing tag†
The application of solid-phase peptide synthesis and native chemical ligation in chemical protein synthesis (CPS) has enabled access to synthetic proteins that cannot be produced recombinantly, such as site-specific post-translationally modified or mirror-image proteins (D-proteins). However, CPS is commonly hampered by aggregation and insolubility of peptide segments and assembly intermediates. Installation of a solubilizing tag consisting of basic Lys or Arg amino acids can overcome these issues. Through the introduction of a traceless cleavable linker, the solubilizing tag can be selectively removed to generate native peptide. Here we describe the synthesis of a next-generation amine-reactive linker N-Fmoc-2-(7-amino-1-hydroxyheptylidene)-5,5-dimethylcyclohexane-1,3-dione (Fmoc-Ddap-OH) that can be used to selectively introduce semi-permanent solubilizing tags (“helping hands”) onto Lys side chains of difficult peptides. This linker has improved stability compared to its predecessor, a property that can increase yields for multi-step syntheses with longer handling times. We also introduce a new linker cleavage protocol using hydroxylamine that greatly accelerates removal of the linker. The utility of this linker in CPS was demonstrated by the preparation of the synthetically challenging Shiga toxin subunit B (StxB) protein. This robust and easy-to-use linker is a valuable addition to the CPS toolbox for the production of challenging synthetic proteins.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Chemical biology in OBC