Preparation and photophysical properties of a caged kynurenine

Chandan Maitrani, Derren J. Heyes, Sam Hay, Selvanathan Arumugam, Vladimir V. Popik, Robert S. Phillips

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    We have prepared l-kyurenine 4-hydroxyphenacyl ester, a caged derivative of l-kynurenine. N α-tBOC-l-tryptophan was reacted with 4-hydroxyphenacyl bromide in DMF with K 2CO 3 as the base to give the N α-tBOC 4-hydroxyphenacyl ester. The ester was then treated with O 3 in MeOH at -20 °C, followed by trifluoroacetic acid in CH 2Cl 2, then aqueous HCl to obtain the caged kynurenine as the dihydrochloride salt. The caged kynurenine is stable as a dry solid in the dark at -78 °C, but in aqueous solutions in phosphate buffer at pH 7-8 hydrolyzes rapidly (t 1/2 ∼5 min). Solutions in Tris at pH 7 are more stable (t 1/2 >30 min), and solutions in 1 mM HCl are stable for several hours. As expected, the ester is cleaved in microseconds with laser pulses at 355 nm. The caged kynurenine may be useful for preparation of substrate complexes for crystallography or in biological studies on kynurenine. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2734-2737
    Number of pages3
    JournalBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2012


    • Caged compound
    • Photochemistry
    • Tryptophan metabolism


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