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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Kinetics and mechanism of the addition of nucleophiles to alpha,beta-unsaturated thiol esters.

Compounds containing the UV-absorbing chromophores p-methoxycinnamate, p-methoxycinnamide, or anthranilate and an alpha,beta- or alpha,beta,gamma,delta-unsaturated thiol ester (crotonyl or sorboyl) have been prepared. These compounds are subject to nucleophilic attack at the C=C conjugated to the thiol ester carbonyl group. The kinetics of the reactions of these thiol esters with N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC), N-acetylcysteamine, and N(2)-acetyl-L-lysine (NAL) have been studied, and the thiol addition products have been identified. The reaction rates increased at higher pH, and the reaction of NAC thiolate with a crotonyl thiol ester in 1:1 (v/v) acetonitrile/aqueous HEPES exhibited buffer catalysis as a result of protonation of the enolate intermediate. At the same concentration, NAC underwent approximately 300-fold more reaction than NAL with a crotonyl thiol ester at pH 9. 8. Additionally, a crotonyl thiol ester was found to be 7.9 times more reactive than a sorboyl thiol ester toward NAC addition. These unsaturated thiol esters may serve as a means of covalently binding UVA and UVB sunscreens to the outer layer of skin to provide long-lasting protection.[1]


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