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Recent Publications

Recent Publication

Catalytic tryptophan bioconjugation in hexafluoroisopropanol (HFIP)

Jun Ohata, assistant professor of chemistry, and his collaborators recently published a paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS).

The paper, Hexafluoroisopropanol as a Bioconjugation Medium of Ultrafast, Tryptophan-Selective Catalysis, identified a medium, hexafluoroisopropanol, that can enhance chemical modification efficiency and can be compatible with a protein.

Proteins are essential for treating and diagnosing various diseases, such as cancers, and chemical modification of such proteins can have positive effects, such as decreasing side effects and increasing potency. Chemical modification or organic chemistry reactions of proteins are challenging because proteins cannot tolerate typical organic solvents, which are often favorable for organic chemistry.

The work demonstrated that modification of Herceptin, a protein/antibody used for breast cancer treatment, is possible by leveraging a classical organic chemistry reaction, Friedel-Crafts alkylation. The developed method may have the potential to broaden the scope to create new protein-based agents for disease treatment (e.g., antibody-drug conjugate) and diagnosis (e.g., positron-emission tomography or PET).