Micelle-assisted Reactions

Biology utilizes multiple strategies, including sequestration in lipid vesicles, to raise the rate and specificity of chemical reactions through increases in effective molarity of reactants. This publication shows that micelle-assisted reaction can facilitate native chemical ligations (NCLs) between a peptide-thioester – in which the thioester leaving group contains a lipid-like alkyl chain – and a Cys-peptide modified by a lipid-like moiety.

Hydrophobic lipid modification of each peptide segment promotes the formation of mixed micelles, bringing the reacting peptides into close proximity and increasing the reaction rate. The approach enables the rapid synthesis of polypeptides using low concentrations of reactants without the need for thiol catalysts. After NCL, the lipid moiety is removed to yield an unmodified ligation product.

This micelle-based methodology facilitates the generation of natural peptides, like Magainin 2, and the derivatization of the protein Ubiquitin. Formation of mixed micelles from lipid-modified reactants shows promise for accelerating chemical reactions in a traceless manner.

Traceless native chemical ligation of lipid-modified peptide surfactants by mixed micelle formation.
Shuaijiang Jin, Roberto J. Brea, Andrew K. Rudd, Stuart P. Moon, Matthew R. Pratt & Neal K. Devaraj
Nat Commun 11, 2793 (2020)

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