Selective acylation of proteins at Gly and Lys in His Tags

Knud J. Jensen*, Mikkel B. Thygesen, Kasper K. Sørensen, Shunliang Wu, Tuule Treiberg, Sanne Schoffelen

*Corresponding author for this work

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The chemical modification of proteins is of great importance in chemical biology, biotechnology, and for the production of modified biopharmaceuticals, as it enables introduction of fluorophores, biotin, half-life extending moieties, and more. We developed two methods for using poly-His sequences to direct the highly selective acylation of proteins, either at the N-terminus or at a specific Lys residue. For the former, we used an N-terminal Gly-His6 segment (Gly-His tag) that directed acylation of the N-terminal Nα-amine with 4-methoxyphenyl esters resulting in stable conjugates. Next, we developed the peptide sequences Hisn-Lys-Hism (Lys-His tags) that direct the acylation of the designated Lys Nε-amine under mild conditions and with high selectivity over native Lys residues. Both the Gly-His and Lys-His tags maintain the capacity for immobilized metal ion affinity chromatopgrahy. We have demonstrated the robustness of these methods by attaching different moieties such as azides, fluorophores, and biotin to different proteins, including antibodies.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202200359
Issue number24
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Acylations
  • Amides
  • Peptides
  • Protein
  • Modification
  • Regioselectivity


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