Syntheses of highly fluorescent GFP-chromophore analogues.

Research paper by Liangxing L Wu, Kevin K Burgess

Indexed on: 07 Mar '08Published on: 07 Mar '08Published in: Journal of the American Chemical Society


Eight B-containing compounds, i.e., 1a-h, were prepared as mimics of the green fluorescent protein (GFP) fluorophore. The underlying concept was that synthetic GFP chromophore analogues are not fluorescent primarily because of free rotation about an aryl-alkene bond (Figure 1b). This rotation is not possible in the beta-barrel of GFP; hence, the molecule is strongly fluorescent. In compounds 1a-h, radiationless decay via this mechanism is prevented by complexation of the BF2 entity. The target materials were prepared via two methods; most were obtained according to the novel route shown in Scheme 1b, but compound 1f was made via the procedure described in Scheme 2. Both syntheses involved formation of undesired compounds E-4a-h that formed simultaneously with the desired isomeric intermediates Z-4a-h. Both compounds form BF2 adducts, i.e., 1a-h and 5a-h, respectively. Methods used for spectroscopic characterization and differentiation of compounds in the series 1 and 5 are discussed, and these are supported by single-crystal X-ray diffraction analyses for compounds 1c, 5c, 1f, and 5f. Electronic spectra of compounds 1a-h and 5a-h were studied in detail. Those in the 5 series were shown to be only weakly fluorescent, but the 1 series were strongly fluorescent compounds (comparable to the boraindacene, BODIPY, dyes). Compounds 1g and 1h are water soluble, and 1h has particularly significant potential as a probe, since it also has a carboxylic acid group for attachment to biomolecules.