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J Pept Sci. 2011 Apr;17(4):256-62. doi: 10.1002/psc.1322. Epub 2011 Jan 19.

Synthesis of peptides containing 5-hydroxytryptophan, oxindolylalanine, N-formylkynurenine and kynurenine.

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Institute of Bioanalytical Chemistry, Center for Biotechnology and Biomedicine (BBZ), Faculty of Chemistry and Mineralogy, Universität Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.


ROS, continuously produced in cells, can reversibly or irreversibly oxidize proteins, lipids, and DNA. At the protein level, cysteine, methionine, tryptophan, and tyrosine residues are particularly prone to oxidation. Here, we describe the solid phase synthesis of peptides containing four different oxidation products of tryptophan residues that can be formed by oxidation in proteins in vitro and in vivo: 5-HTP, Oia, Kyn, and NFK. First, we synthesized Oia and NFK by selective oxidation of tryptophan and then protected the α-amino group of both amino acids, and the commercially available 5-HTP, with Fmoc-succinimide. High yields of Fmoc-Kyn were obtained by acid hydrolysis of Fmoc-NFK. All four Fmoc derivatives were successfully incorporated, at high yields, into three different peptide sequences from skeletal muscle actin, creatin kinase (M-type), and β-enolase. The correct structure of all modified peptides was confirmed by tandem mass spectrometry. Interestingly, isobaric peptides containing 5-HTP and Oia were always well separated in an acetonitrile gradient with TFA as the ion-pair reagent on a C₁₈-phase. Such synthetic peptides should prove useful in future studies to distinguish isobaric oxidation products of tryptophan.

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