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Org Biomol Chem. 2012 Jun 21;10(23):4500-4. doi: 10.1039/c2ob25460c. Epub 2012 May 10.

Site-specific crosslinking of annexin proteins by 1,4-benzoquinone: a novel crosslinker for the formation of protein dimers and diverse protein conjugates.

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  • 1Alcon Research Ltd., 6201 South Freeway, Fort Worth, Texas 76134, USA.


Annexin V (1) specifically binds to phosphatidylserine on apoptotic and necrotic cells as well as certain cancer cells, making it an attractive vehicle for the delivery of therapeutically-relevant conjugates to such sites. The wild-type protein possesses a single thiol at Cys316, which is difficultly accessible to site-specific labeling by simple maleimides. By contrast, 1,4-benzoquinone site-specifically labels annexin V in minutes. The resulting conjugate (5) serves as an intermediate for crosslinking annexin molecules, which can be accomplished within hours either directly for linking annexin V-128 (19), or via an extended sequence involving the crosslinking of two units of (5) by the symmetrical α,ω-dithiol (20). Besides its ability to mediate protein dimer formation while retaining annexin V's ability to bind phosphatidylserine, (5) possesses classic 1,4-benzoquinone reactivity. Various nucleophiles and Diels-Alder dienes form adducts with (5) in reactions that may have general utility for the synthesis of novel biologically active entities. The present work presents the first example of thiol-specific crosslinking of proteins by 1,4-quinone-based methodology designed to exploit the reactivity of this versatile chemical entity.

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