Bioconjugate chemistry

Mussel-inspired new approach for polymerization and cross-linking of peptides and proteins containing tyrosines by Fremy's salt oxidation.

PMID 25692389


Our objective was to develop a method mimicking the natural process of coherence in marine mollusks, by direct chemical conversion of protein tyrosine residues to DOPA-o-quinones, which consequently generates polymerization and cross-linking. Fremy's salt, (ON(SO3K)2, was used to convert tyrosine residues in peptides and proteins to reactive o-quinones. The conversion of tyrosines to DOPA-o-quinones, and their ability to polymerize or cross-link, was tested on tyramine, peptides, and proteins. The peptides tested were as follows: biotin-PEG4-tyramine (PEG-BT), and two decapeptides (identical to the repeating units comprising the mussel's adhesive protein). The proteins tested were as follows: bovine pancreatic ribonuclease A (RNase), lysozyme, IgG, avidin, and streptavidin. The oxidized peptides and proteins were all shown to incorporate oxygen atoms and undergo polymerization and cross-linking, depending on the availability of nucleophiles, mostly lysine amino groups of proteins. All the peptides and the noninteracting proteins such as RNase and lysozyme underwent homopolymerization upon Fremy's salt oxidation. When Fremy's salt oxidaized PEG-BT was mixed with the above proteins, it did not react with any of these proteins because PEG-BT underwent fast self-polymerization. Conversely, streptavidin or avidin cross-linked with PEG-BT after preincubation, thus showing that biorecognition is a prerequisite for cross-linking. Polymerization and cross-linking also occurred, following Fremy's salt oxidation of interacting proteins such as avidin and strepavidin with biotinyilated lysozyme or biotinylated RNase. This indicates that only proteins in very close proximity readily cross-link and polymerize via tyrosine residues. Attempts to convert DOPA-quinone to DOPA by reduction with sodium dithionite (Na2S2O4), was successful as far as small peptides were used. Fremy's salt oxidation can serve as an easy and useful tool to polymerize and cross-link proteins, for fabrication of biomaterials and to study protein-protein interactions.