On terminal alkynes that can react with active-site cysteine nucleophiles in proteases

Reggy Ekkebus, Sander I van Kasteren, Yogesh Kulathu, Arjen Scholten, Ilana Berlin, Paul P Geurink, Annemieke de Jong, Soenita Goerdayal, Jacques Neefjes, Albert J R Heck, David Komander, Huib Ovaa

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    250 Citations (Scopus)


    Active-site directed probes are powerful in studies of enzymatic function. We report an active-site directed probe based on a warhead so far considered unreactive. By replacing the C-terminal carboxylate of ubiquitin (Ub) with an alkyne functionality, a selective reaction with the active-site cysteine residue of de-ubiquitinating enzymes was observed. The resulting product was shown to be a quaternary vinyl thioether, as determined by X-ray crystallography. Proteomic analysis of proteins bound to an immobilized Ub alkyne probe confirmed the selectivity toward de-ubiquitinating enzymes. The observed reactivity is not just restricted to propargylated Ub, as highlighted by the selective reaction between caspase-1 (interleukin converting enzyme) and a propargylated peptide derived from IL-1ß, a caspase-1 substrate.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2867-70
    Number of pages4
    JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2013


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