Research team led by the University of Göttingen develops a new strategy for labeling peptides

Biomolecules regulate the biological functions in every living cell. When scientists understand the molecular mechanisms of such functions, it is possible to identify the serious dysfunctions that can lead to disease. At the molecular level, this can be achieved with fluorescent markers that are specifically incorporated into the respective biomolecules. In the past, this was achieved by incorporating a marker into the biomolecule by completely rebuilding it from the start, which required a multitude of steps. Unfortunately, this approach not only costs a lot of time and resources, it also produces undesirable waste products. Researchers at the Universities of Göttingen and Edinburgh have now shown that a non-toxic complex of the common metal manganese makes it possible to conveniently mark a class of special biomolecules, so-called peptides, even in the last minute of their synthesis. The mechanism of action of these labeled peptides can thus be examined efficiently. The results were published in the journal Nature communication.

The research group developed the selective labeling of peptides and biological natural substances late in the series of synthetic steps by activating carbon-hydrogen bonds in tryptophan residues. This experimentally simple strategy enables efficient access to novel fluorescent peptides that are very sensitive to their biological environment. This enabled the team to develop a highly sensitive “rotor” that can display changes in the composition of the membranes of immune cells. Its fluorescence depends on the viscosity of the cell membrane. The researchers observed radiating fluorescence in the presence of cholesterol in the cell membrane. In this way, the rotor can be used to screen certain molecules in cells that are important for the adaptive immune system to fight infection and cancer.

“The project demonstrates the efficiency of the combination of chemical, biological and medical research, which enables direct observation of cell-specific events,” says project leader Professor Lutz Ackermann from the University of Göttingen. “In addition, the successful collaboration ensures that our discoveries have a direct impact not only in chemistry, but also in the biomedical sciences. The exchange of ideas and expertise between the teams enabled a common approach to real problems. “


Original publication: Nikolaus Kaplaneris et al. Chemodivergent Manganese-Catalyzed C[BOND] H Activation: Modular Synthesis of Fluorogenic Probes.Nature communication (2021). Doi: 10.1038 / s41467-021-23462-9. Full text also available here: https: ///rdcu.Be/cl4iz


Professor Lutz Ackermann

University of Göttingen

Institute for Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry

Tammannstrasse 2, 37077 Göttingen, Germany

Tel: +49 (0) 551 39-33202

E-mail: [email protected]

http: // www.ackermann.chemistry.uni-gö


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