5 years ago

PHOXI: A High Quantum Yield, Solvent-Sensitive Blue Fluorescent 5-Hydroxytryptophan Derivative Synthesized within Ten Minutes under Aqueous, Ambient Conditions

PHOXI: A High Quantum Yield, Solvent-Sensitive Blue Fluorescent 5-Hydroxytryptophan Derivative Synthesized within Ten Minutes under Aqueous, Ambient Conditions
Laura J. Juszczak, Azaria S. Eisenberg, Alexandre Grigoryan
Multiple tryptophan (Trp) proteins are not amenable to fluorescence study because individual residue emission is not resolvable. Biosynthetic incorporation of an indole analogue such as 5-hydroxyindole has not provided sufficient spectroscopic resolution because of low quantum yield and small emission shift. Here, 5-hydroxyindole is used as the starting framework for building a blue emitting fluorophore of high quantum yield, 2-phenyl-6H-oxazolo[4,5-e]indole (PHOXI). This is a three reagent reaction completed in 10 min under ambient conditions in borate buffer at pH 8. Reaction conditions have been optimized using 5-hydroxyindole. Derivatization is demonstrated on tryptophanyl 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) and a stable β-hairpin “zipper” peptide with four tryptophan residues, TrpZip2, where Trp 4 has been replaced with 5-HTP, W4 → 5-HTP. Reaction optimization yields a PHOXI fluorophore that is essentially free of byproducts. Reaction specificity is demonstrated by the lack of reaction with N-acetyl-cysteine and amyloid β-40, a peptide containing all amino acids except tryptophan, proline, and cysteine and lacking 5-HTP. Fluorescence study of PHOXI-derivatized 5-hydroxyindole in different solvents reveals the sensitivity of PHOXI to solvent polarity with a remarkable 87 nm red-shift in water relative to cyclohexane while maintaining high quantum yield. Thus, PHOXI joins the ranks of solvatochromic fluorophores such as PRODAN. Surprisingly, DFT calculations reveal coplanarity of the oxazolo/indole extended ring system and the phenyl substituent for both the HOMO and LUMO orbitals. Despite the crowded environment of three additional Trps in TrpZip2, CD spectroscopy shows that the TrpZip2 β-hairpin structure is partially retained upon PHOXI incorporation. In an environment of smaller residues, PHOXI incorporation can be less disruptive of protein secondary structure, especially at molecular interfaces and other environments where there is typically less steric hindrance.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpcb.7b03611

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.7b03611

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