• click chemistry;
  • inhibitors;
  • peptidyl–RNA conjugates;
  • RNA;
  • transferases


Peptidyl–RNA conjugates have various applications in studying the ribosome and enzymes participating in tRNA-dependent pathways such as Fem transferases in peptidoglycan synthesis. Herein a convergent synthesis of peptidyl–RNAs based on Huisgen–Sharpless cycloaddition for the final ligation step is developed. Azides and alkynes are introduced into tRNA and UDP-MurNAc-pentapeptide, respectively. Synthesis of 2′-azido RNA helix starts from 2′-azido-2′-deoxyadenosine that is coupled to deoxycytidine by phosphoramidite chemistry. The resulting dinucleotide is deprotected and ligated to a 22-nt RNA helix mimicking the acceptor arm of Ala-tRNAAla by T4 RNA ligase. For alkyne UDP-MurNAc-pentapeptide, meso-cystine is enzymatically incorporated into the peptidoglycan precursor and reduced, and L-Cys is converted to dehydroalanine with O-(mesitylenesulfonyl)hydroxylamine. Reaction of but-3-yne-1-thiol with dehydroalanine affords the alkyne-containing UDP-MurNAc-pentapeptide. The CuI-catalyzed azide alkyne cycloaddition reaction in the presence of tris[(1-hydroxypropyl-1H-1,2,3-triazol-4-yl)methyl]amine provided the peptidyl-RNA conjugate, which was tested as an inhibitor of non-ribosomal FemXWv aminoacyl transferase. The bi-substrate analogue was found to inhibit FemXWv with an IC50 of (89±9) pM, as both moieties of the peptidyl–RNA conjugate contribute to high-affinity binding.