Rapid Additive-Free Selenocystine–Selenoester Peptide Ligation

12 May 2020

We describe an unprecedented reaction between peptide selenoesters and peptide dimers bearing N-terminal selenocystine that proceeds in aqueous buffer to afford native amide bonds without the use of additives. The selenocystine-selenoester ligations are complete in minutes, even at sterically hindered junctions, and can be used in concert with one-pot deselenization chemistry. Various pathways for the transformation are proposed and probed through a combination of experimental and computational studies. Our new reaction manifold is also showcased in the total synthesis of two proteins.