Thiol-Cyanobenzothiazole Ligation for the Efficient Preparation of Peptide-PNA Conjugates

Nitin A. Patil, John A. Karas, Bradley J. Turner, Fazel Shabanpoor

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Antisense oligonucleotide (ASO)-based drugs are emerging with great potential as therapeutic compounds for diseases with unmet medical needs. However, for ASOs to be effective as clinical entities, they should reach their intracellular RNA and DNA targets at pharmacologically relevant concentrations. Over the past decades, various covalently attached delivery vehicles have been utilized for intracellular delivery of ASOs. One such approach is the use of biocompatible cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) covalently conjugated to ASOs. The stability of the linkage is of paramount importance for maximal intracellular delivery to achieve the desired therapeutic effect. In this study, we have investigated the efficiency and stability of four different bioorthogonal and nonreductive linkages including triazole, thioether, thiosuccinimide thioether and thiazole moieties. Here we have shown that thiazole and thiosuccinimide are the two most efficient and facile approaches for the preparation of peptide-ASO conjugates. The thiazole linkage had a higher stability compared to the thiosuccinimide thioether at physiological conditions (pH 7.4, 37 °C) in the presence of a biologically relevant concentration of glutathione. We have also shown that the peptide-ASO conjugate with a thiosuccinimide linkage has a significantly lower antisense activity compared to the peptide-ASO with the thiazole linkage, which maintains its antisense activity after 24 h of exposure to glutathione. In summary, we have demonstrated that the bioorthogonal thiazole linkage offers the benefits of mild reaction conditions, fast reaction kinetics, absence of any byproducts, and higher stability compared to other conjugation approaches. This facile ligation can be used for the synthesis of a variety of bioconjugates where a stable linkage is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-799
Number of pages7
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2019

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