In Situ Quenching of Trialkylphosphine Reducing Agents Using Water-Soluble PEG-Azides Improves Maleimide Conjugation to Proteins

Trialkylphosphines tris­(2-carboxy-ethyl)-phosphine and tris­(3-hydroxypropyl)-phosphine are popular reagents for the reduction of cysteine residues in bioconjugation reactions using maleimides. However, it has been demonstrated that these phosphines are reactive toward maleimide, necessitating their removal before the addition of the Michael acceptor. Here, a method using water-soluble PEG-azides is reported for the quenching of trialkylphosphines in situ, which is demonstrated to improve the level of maleimide conjugation to proteins.