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Title: A novel glycoconjugation method and unexpected photo-induced site-selective protein cleavage reaction
Author: Nicola, Floyd
ISNI:       0000 0004 2694 0367
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2009
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Homogenous glycoforms of glycoproteins are one of the primary targets in glycobiology to allow for the determination of glycoprotein function and to create glycoprotein mimetics for use as therapeutic agents. Although N- and O-linked glycosylation is preferred in nature, S-linked glycoproteins are attractive synthetic targets due to their enhanced chemical stability and enzymatic resistance. This thesis reports a novel convergent method for the synthesis of S-linked glycoproteins through the site-specific ligation of 1-glycosyl thiols to olefin containing proteins. This strategy employs unnatural amino acid incorporation for the introduction of L-homoallylglycine (L-Hag) into proteins and free-radical addition hydrothiolation chemistry, under conditions mild enough to preserve protein activity. The unique reactivity profile of L-Hag, which has an olefinic side-chain, compared with the natural amino acids characteristically found in proteins, allows for a chemoselective chemical reaction. At the outset, methodology was optimised using Hag as a model system. The reaction was then successfully applied to proteins with different structures, for precise, site-selective glycoconjugation at single and even multiple sites. Whilst investigating the above-mentioned photochemical modification of proteins, an unexpected photo-induced site-selective protein cleavage reaction localised to the TIM-barrel proteins from family 1 of glycosylhydrolases was discovered. Although proteins are known to be affected by UV irradiation, examples of clean, site-selective photocleavage without the use of a cleaving agent are rare. Remarkably, the β-glycosidase from Sulfolobus solfataricus (SsβG) was found to form two daughter fragments following UV irradiation (240–308 nm). Alterations at and alaninescanning of a sphere of residues around the cleavage site were used to establish which residues were essential for the reaction to occur and extensive analysis of the fragments allowed a reaction mechanism to be proposed. The propensity of other proteins to undergo photo-induced cleavage was also investigated. In addition, the biotechnological utility of the aforementioned photocleavage reaction has been applied to the development of a cleaved-tag affinity purification method using a GFPSsβG fusion as the model protein.
Supervisor: Davis, B. G. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Organic chemistry ; glycoconjugation ; protein ; cleavage