Gold(I)-Mediated Decaging or Cleavage of Propargylated Peptide Bond in Aqueous Conditions for Protein Synthesis and Manipulation

Muhammad Jbara, Emad Eid, Ashraf Brik*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chemists have been interested in the N-alkylation of a peptide bond because such a modification alters the conformation of the amide bond, interferes with hydrogen bond formation, and changes other properties of the peptide (e.g., solubility). This modification also opens the door for attaching functional groups for various applications. Nonetheless, the irreversibility of some of these modifications and the harsh conditions required for their removal currently limits the wide utility of this approach. Herein, we report applying a propargyl group for peptide bond modification at diverse junctions, which can be removed under mild and aqueous conditions via treatment with gold(I). Considering the straightforward conditions for both the installation and removal of this group, the propargyl group provides access to the benefits of backbone N-alkylation, while preserving the ability for on-demand depropargylation and full recovery of the native amide bond. This reversible modification was found to improve solid-phase peptide synthesis as demonstrated in the chemical synthesis of NEDD8 protein, without the use of special dipeptide analogues. Also, the reported approach was found to be useful in decaging a broad range of propargyl-based protecting groups used in chemical protein synthesis. Remarkably, reversing the order of the two residues in the propargylation site resulted in rapid amide bond cleavage, which extends the applicability of this approach beyond a removable backbone modification to a cleavable linker. The easy attach/detach of this functionality was also examined in loading and releasing of biotinylated peptides from streptavidin beads.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8203-8210
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number18
StatePublished - 6 May 2020
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation521/19
Council for Higher Education


    Dive into the research topics of 'Gold(I)-Mediated Decaging or Cleavage of Propargylated Peptide Bond in Aqueous Conditions for Protein Synthesis and Manipulation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this