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Click chemistry with copper -- a biocompatible version
Date:7/18/2011

the co-leader of this research with Peng Wu, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

"While copper-free click chemistry may have advantages for whole animal imaging experiments such as imaging in mice," Liu says, "our ligand-accelerated copper reaction is better suited for enriching glycoproteins for their identification."

The ligand-accelerated copper-catalyzed reaction was used to label glycans in recombinant glycoproteins, glycoproteins in cell lysates, glycoproteins on live cell surfaces, and glycoconjugates in live zebrafish embryos. Because a zebrafish embryo is transparent in the first 24 hours of its development, it allows labeled glycans to be detected via molecular imaging techniques, making it a highly useful model for developmental biology studies.

"Based on our results," says Peng Wu, "we believe that ligand-accelerated copper-catalyzed click chemistry represents a powerful and highly adaptive bioconjugation tool that holds great promise for further improvement with the discovery of more versatile catalyst systems."

Click chemistry, which was introduced in 2002 by the Nobel laureate chemist Barry Sharpless of the Scripps Research Institute, utilizes a copper-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC) reaction that makes it possible for certain chemical building blocks to "click" together in an irreversible linkage, analogous to the snapping together of Lego blocks. While the technique immediately proved valuable for attaching small molecular probes to various biomolecules in a test tube or on fixed cells, it could not be used for biomolecule labeling in live cells or organisms because of the copper catalyst.

In 2007, Carolyn Bertozzi, a chemist who holds joint appointments with Berkeley Lab, the University of California (UC) Berkeley, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, led a research effort that produced a copper-free version of click chemistry. In this version, glycans were metabolically
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Contact: Lynn Yarris
lcyarris@lbl.gov
510-486-5375
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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