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Stephen Kent – 2015 Kauzmann Lecture

Stephen Kent - 2015 Kauzmann Lecture

Thu, Sep. 24, 2015, 4:30pm - 6:00pm
Frick Chemistry Laboratory, Taylor Auditorium
Host: Thomas Muir and Mohammad Seyedsayamdost

Bringing the Science of Proteins into the Realm of Organic Chemistry

Total chemical synthesis of proteins was one of the enduring ‘Grand Challenges’ of 20th century synthetic organic chemistry. The solution to this problem was provided by the chemical ligation principle: chemoselective covalent condensation of unprotected peptides enabled by formation of a non-native moiety at the ligation site. The most effective such chemistry – ‘native chemical ligation’ – is based on this principle, and has enabled the robust total synthesis of a wide range of protein molecules. Application of synthetic chemistry to protein molecules enables a new world of protein science. Current examples include the design and synthesis of protein molecules of novel covalent topology not found in nature. Special emphasis will be placed on exploitation of the chiral properties of protein molecules (Kurt Mislow), through the total synthesis of mirror image proteins composed entirely of unnatural D- amino acids and the achiral amino acid glycine. Applications of D-protein molecules include their systematic development as candidate therapeutics, and the determination of novel protein structures by racemic X-ray crystallography.