The utilization of unnatural amino acids (UAAs) in bioconjugations is ideal due to their ability to confer a degree of bioorthogonality and specificity. In order to elucidate optimal conditions for the preparation of bioconjugates with UAAs, we synthesized 9 UAAs with variable methylene tethers (2-4) and either an azide, alkyne, or halide functional group. All 9 UAAs were then incorporated into green fluorescent protein (GFP) using a promiscuous aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase. The different bioconjugations were then analyzed for optimal tether length via reaction with either a fluorophore or a derivatized resin. Interestingly, the optimal tether length was found to be dependent on the type of reaction. Overall, these findings provide a better understanding of various parameters that can be optimized for the efficient preparation of bioconjugates.
Maza, J. C., McKenna, J. R., Raliski, B. K., Freedman, M. T., & Young, D. D. (2015). Synthesis and incorporation of unnatural amino acids to probe and optimize protein bioconjugations. Bioconjugate chemistry, 26(9), 1884-1889.