Near-Quantitative Aqueous Synthesis of Rotaxanes via Bioconjugation to Oligopeptides and Proteins

In spite of widespread interest in rotaxane-based molecular machines and materials, rotaxanes have not been attached covalently to proteins. We describe the near-quantitative aqueous synthesis of [2]­rotaxanes based on neutral and charged aqueous hostscucurbit[7]­uril (CB7) and cyclobis­(paraquat-p-phenylene) (CBPQT4+), respectivelyusing the thiol-ene addition of cysteine and maleimide as a stoppering protocol. After verifying the high efficiency of the reaction using glutathione (GSH) as an oligopeptide stopper, we have employed cytochrome C (CytC) as a protein stopper to produce the first well-characterized protein-rotaxane bioconjugates. We anticipate that this methodology will enable the preparation of novel materials that combine the unique properties of proteins and mechanical bonds.