Ethoxyformylation of Histidine
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Diethylpyrocarbonate (DEP) reacts with various nucleophiles (amines, alcohols, thiols, imidazoles, or guanido groups) to yield the respective ethoxyformyl derivatives. At low pH (generally<6.0) the reaction is quite selective for histidine, as the main side reaction with the ε-amino group of lysine proceeds very slowly (see e.g., ref. 1). Still, side reactions even with hydroxyl groups (e.g., of serine or tyrosine) were observed (2). The fact that the ethoxyformyl group can be removed from the imidazole side chain by mild treatment with hydroxylamine can be exploited to ascribe the modification to a histidine residue. In addition, ethoxyformylation of histidines is characterized by an increase in absorbance at 242 nm, which is also used to determine the number of modified histidines (1-3).
KeywordsAcetate Buffer Sodium Acetate Side Reaction Sodium Acetate Buffer Histidine Residue
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