Exploring the role of the 5-substituent for the intrinsic fluorescence of 5-aryl and 5-heteroaryl uracil nucleotides: A systematic study

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Abstract

Derivatives of UMP (uridine monophosphate) with a fluorogenic substituent in position 5 represent a small but unique class of fluorophores, which has found important applications in chemical biology and biomolecular chemistry. In this study, we have synthesised a series of derivatives of the uracil nucleotides UMP, UDP and UTP with different aromatic and heteroaromatic substituents in position 5, in order to systematically investigate the influence of the 5-substituent on fluorescence emission. We have determined relevant photophysical parameters for all derivatives in this series, including quantum yields for the best fluorophores. The strongest fluorescence emission was observed with a 5-formylthien-2-yl substituent in position 5 of the uracil base, while the corresponding 3-formylthien-2-yl-substituted regioisomer was significantly less fluorescent. The 5-(5-formylthien-2-yl) uracil fluorophore was studied further in solvents of different polarity and proticity. In conjunction with results from a conformational analysis based on NMR data and computational experiments, these findings provide insights into the steric and electronic factors that govern fluorescence emission in this class of fluorophores. In particular, they highlight the interplay between fluorescence emission and conformation in this series. Finally, we carried out ligand-binding experiments with the 5-(5-formylthien-2-yl) uracil fluorophore and a UDP-sugardependent glycosyltransferase, demonstrating its utility for biological applications. The results from our photophysical and biological studies suggest, for the first time, a structural explanation for the fluorescence quenching effect that is observed upon binding of these fluorophores to a target protein.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6357-6371
Number of pages5
JournalORGANIC AND BIOMOLECULAR CHEMISTRY
Volume37
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2013

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