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Amino Acids. 2013 Nov;45(5):1097-108. doi: 10.1007/s00726-013-1562-5. Epub 2013 Aug 7.

Direct one-step labeling of cysteine residues on peptides with [(11)C]methyl triflate for the synthesis of PET radiopharmaceuticals.

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McConnell Brain Imaging Centre, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.


Radiolabeled peptides have emerged as an attractive platform for the diagnostic and therapeutic oncology. However, the (11)C-radiolabeling of peptides for positron emission tomography (PET) has been poorly explored, owing to the relatively short half-life of carbon-11 (t 1/2 = 20.3 min) and time-consuming multi-step radiochemical reactions. Existing methods have found limited use and are not routinely encountered in the production of radiotracers. Herein, we propose a facile one-step direct (11)C-methylation of cysteine residues in peptides using [(11)C]methyl triflate under ambient temperatures (20 °C) and short reaction times, on the order of seconds. Good regioselectivity of this method was demonstrated by HPLC in a simple peptide (glutathione, GSH) and a more complex test decapeptide (Trp-Tyr-Trp-Ser-Arg-Cys-Lys-Trp-Thr-Gly) bearing multiple nucleophilic sites. In addition, we extend this method towards the synthesis of [(11)C]Cys(Me)-[Tyr(3)-octreotate] as a demonstration of applicability for peptides of biological interest. This octreotate derivative was obtained in non-decay-corrected radiochemical yields of 11 ± 2 % (n = 3) with a synthesis time of approx. 30 min.

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