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Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2013 Nov 11;52(46):11988-96. doi: 10.1002/anie.201304116. Epub 2013 Oct 11.

Bringing the science of proteins into the realm of organic chemistry: total chemical synthesis of SEP (synthetic erythropoiesis protein).

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Department of Chemistry, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637 (USA)


Erythropoietin, commonly known as EPO, is a glycoprotein hormone that stimulates the production of red blood cells. Recombinant EPO has been described as "arguably the most successful drug spawned by the revolution in recombinant DNA technology". Recently, the EPO glycoprotein molecule has re-emerged as a major target of synthetic organic chemistry. In this article I will give an account of an important body of earlier work on the chemical synthesis of a designed EPO analogue that had full biological activity and improved pharmacokinetic properties. The design and synthesis of this "synthetic erythropoiesis protein" was ahead of its time, but has gained new relevance in recent months. Here I will document the story of one of the major accomplishments of synthetic chemistry in a more complete way than is possible in the primary literature, and put the work in its contemporaneous context.


EPO; chemical protein synthesis; glycoprotein mimetics; peptide-thioesters; protein design

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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