Photoaffinity labeling (PAL) is an important tool in chemical biology research, but application of α-ketoamides for PAL has been hampered by their photoinstability. Here, we show that 2-thienyl-substituted α-ketoamide is a superior photoreactive group for PAL. Studies with a series of synthetic mannose-conjugated α-ketoamides revealed that 2-thienyl substitution of α-ketoamide decreased the electrophilicity of the keto group and reduced the rate of photodegradation. Mannose-conjugated thienyl α-ketoamide showed greater concanavalin A labeling efficiency than other alkyl or phenyl-substituted α-ketoamides. In comparison with representative conventional photoreactive groups, 2-thienyl ketoamide showed reduced labeling of nontarget proteins, probably owing to its lower hydrophobicity.
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