Development and Applications of Photoinducible Bioorthogonal Chemistry ABSTRACT Bioorthogonal chemistry has emerged as a powerful tool in probing biomolecular structure and function in living systems. Combining with recent developments in introducing novel chemical reactivity into biomolecules site- selectively in vivo, bioorthogonal chemistry offers an unprecedented opportunity to monitor and expand biomolecular function in living systems. Our long term goal is to develop a toolbox of photoinducible bioorthogonal reactions and apply them to study protein function in living systems. The bioorthogonal reactions we are developing build from our chemical insights into unusual heterocycles which are thermodynamically stable, and yet undergo rapid photoinduced ring openings to generate the highly reactive intermediates. These intermediates then react selectively with their cognate, externally introduced partners in living systems. In the Preliminary Studies, we show the first photoinducible bioorthogonal reaction between diaryltetrazoles and alkenes, and its application in the site-specific modification of proteins both in biological buffer and in living E. coli cells. In this project, we propose to significantly expand the scope and the utility of this reaction toolbox by: 1) identifying tetrazoles with enhanced reactivity toward unactivated alkenes;2) developing a photoinducible diarylazirine-based bioorthogonal reaction;3) developing a general strategy for functionalizing newly synthesized proteins in living cells;and 4) probing protein posttranslational modifications such as lipidation and phosphorylation in living cells. We hope these new developments will enable functional study of proteins in vivo with exquisite specificity at the molecular level and operational simplicity at the system level.
Our specific aims are the follows: (1) To optimize the reactivity of tetrazoles and develop a diarylazirine- based photoinducible bioorthogonal reaction. Substituent effect based on a "push-pull" hypothesis will be explored to achieve the selective and enhanced reactivity toward unactivated alkenes. (2) To develop a general strategy for labeling newly synthesized proteins in mammalian cells through co-translational alkene incorporation followed by selective functionalization with the tetrazole-based chemistry. Experiments are proposed to examine the co-translational activities of several activated alkene amino acids and their subsequent functionalization by the tetrazole compounds. (3) To apply the tetrazole-based bioorthogonal chemistry to model Ras lipidation in living cells and probe the role of lipid structures on Ras membrane targeting dynamics, specificity, and function. Both the intein-mediated chemical ligation and the amber codon suppression methods will be employed in constructing the tetrazole-encoded N-Ras mutant for this study. (4) To apply the tetrazole-based bioorthogonal chemistry to mimic STAT-1 tyrosine phosphorylation by incorporating a tetrazole amino acid at the tyrosine phosphorylation site (Tyr-701) using both native chemical ligation and amber codon suppression techniques. We will examine the effect of chemical phosphorylation on the engineered STAT-1 dimerization, nuclear transport, and transcriptional activation in living cells.
The development of chemical tools for the study of complex and dynamic biological problems represents a central challenge in chemical biology. As a new class of chemical tools, the bioorthogonal reactions have significantly advanced our understanding of biomolecular structure, function, and dynamics in living systems, however, various limitations of currently available bioorthogonal reactions prevent their wider applications in the biomedical research. This proposal addresses the development of a class of photoinducible bioorthogonal reactions with many desirable reaction attributes, and their applications in functionalizing newly synthesized proteins as well as the study of the dynamics of protein posttranslational modifications such as lipidation and phosphorylation in living cells.
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