Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Dr. Roman Manetsch

Committee Member

Dr. Mark McLaughlin

Committee Member

Dr. Jon Antilla

Committee Member

Dr. Abdul Malik


Photoaffinity labeling, 3-Trifluoromethyl-3-phenyl diazirine, Proteomics, BACE-1, β-secretase, Alzheimer’s disease, Small molecule


Photoaffinity labeling is a quintessential technique in studying and analyzing the interaction between a ligand and receptor. Diazirines are one of the important photo-labile moieties used in photoaffinity labeling due to their superior photo labeling characteristics. Herein, we report the investigations we conducted with diazirine photolabels on (a) photochemical aspects leading to enhancement of their ambient light stability and (b) equipping them with fluorous tags to enable fluorous enrichment of labeled proteins. Furthermore, we report a pilot study to develop BACE-1 inhibitors, which have potential to be developed into photoaffinity probes.

3-Trifluoromethyl-3-phenyldiazirine offers good selectivity and protection against pseudolabeling but due to its photo lability, it undergoes decomposition even under ambient light. Thus the laboratory handling, including synthesis, of 3-trifluoromethyl-3-phenyldiazirine is cumbersome and restricted under constant darkness. Herein, we have designed, synthesized and evaluated two photolabels with enhanced stability to ambient light conditions in addition to the good selectivity and protection against pseudolabeling as offered by 3-trifluoromethyl-3-phenyldiazirine. It was also found that the aqueous solubility, a vital physical property for a photolabel, was also improved in the modified ambient light stable photolabels.

Fluorous tags have found wide use in synthetic applications; herein we explore the possibility of its application in photoaffinity studies. We designed, synthesized and conducted photoactivation studies on two fluorous diazirine photolabels. The photoactivation studies unraveled an unanticipated photoreaction when the fluorous tag

was directly connected to the diazirine ring, yielding a fluorous alkene. The more practical photolabel of the two was chosen as the target specific photoaffinity labeling moiety for fluorous proteomics. Upon conducting photolabeling experiments under various conditions, we found that the strong hydrophobic character of the fluorous tag renders the photoaffinity label insoluble in aqueous solutions and significantly alters the binding mode and affinity of the photoaffinity label to its target receptor.

A library of 1,3-disubstituted 2-propanols was combinatorially prepared and tested as small molecule inhibitors of β-secretase (BACE-1). The initial screening of the 1,3-disubstituted 2-propanol library revealed a few low micromolar inhibitors for BACE-1. The compound that showed the best activity was chosen for further SAR studies, which resulted in a potent BACE-1 inhibitor with nanomolar inhibition. Investigation on the selectivity of these compounds for BACE-1 inhibition over cathepsin D revealed that these compound series possess very high selectivity. Furthermore, the physicochemical properties study showed that these compounds possessed the calculated parameters advantageous to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB).