Facile Synthetic Procedure for Omega, Primary Amine Functionalization Directly In Water For Subsequent Fluorescent Labeling and Potential Bioconjugation of RAFT-Synthesized (Co)polymers
We describe a facile method to amine functionalize and subsequently fluorescently label polymethacrylamides synthesized via reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization. RAFT-generated poly(N-(2-hydroxypropyl) methacrylamide-b-N-[3-(dimethylamino)propyl] methacrylamide) (poly(HPMA-b-DMAPMA)), a water soluble biocompatible polymer, is first converted to a polymeric thiol and functionalized with a primary amine through a disulfide exchange reaction with cystamine and subsequently reacted with the amine-functionalized fluorescent dye, 6-(fluorescein-5-carboxamido)hexanoic acid, succinimidyl ester (5-SFX). Poly(HPMA25s-b-DMAPMA,3) (M(n) = 39 700 g/mol, M(w)/M(n) = 1.06), previously synthesized by RAFT polymerization, was used to demonstrate this facile labeling method. The problem with labeling the omega-terminal chain end of a RAFT-synthesized polymethacrylamide is that the reduced end yields a tertiary thiol with low reactivity. The key to labeling poly(HPMA-b-DMAPMA) is to first reduce the dithioester chain end with a strong reducing agent such as NaBH(4), and then functionalize the tertiary polymeric thiol with a primary amine through a disulfide exchange reaction with dihydrochloride cystamine. We show that the disulfide exchange reaction is efficient and that the amine-functionalized poly(HPMA-b-DMAPMA) can be easily labeled with the fluorescent dye, 5-SFX. This concept is proven by using a ninhydrin assay to detect primary amines and UV-vis spectroscopy to measure the degree of conjugation.