Selective N-terminal acylation of peptides and proteins with a Gly-His tag sequence

Manuel C. Martos-Maldonado, Christian T. Hjuler, Kasper K. Sørensen, Mikkel B. Thygesen, Jakob E. Rasmussen, Klaus Villadsen, Søren R. Midtgaard, Stefan Kol, Sanne Schoffelen, Knud J. Jensen*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Methods for site-selective chemistry on proteins are in high demand for the synthesis of chemically modified biopharmaceuticals, as well as for applications in chemical biology, biosensors and more. Inadvertent N-terminal gluconoylation has been reported during expression of proteins with an N-terminal His tag. Here we report the development of this side-reaction into a general method for highly selective N-terminal acylation of proteins to introduce functional groups. We identify an optimized N-terminal sequence, GHHHn− for the reaction with gluconolactone and 4-methoxyphenyl esters as acylating agents, facilitating the introduction of functionalities in a highly selective and efficient manner. Azides, biotin or a fluorophore are introduced at the N-termini of four unrelated proteins by effective and selective acylation with the 4-methoxyphenyl esters. This Gly-Hisn tag adds the unique capability for highly selective N-terminal chemical acylation of expressed proteins. We anticipate that it can find wide application in chemical biology and for biopharmaceuticals.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3307
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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