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2-(1H-Benzotriazol-1-yl)-1,1,3,3-tetramethyluronium tetrafluoroborate (TBTU) has been adapted for use as a coupling reagent for tert-butyloxycarbonyl (Boc) amino acids in automated solid-phase peptide synthesis. When compared to the existing preformed symmetrical anhydride procedure employing dicyclohexyl-carbodiimide (DCC), the use of TBTU in the presence of 1-hydroxybenzotriazole (HOBt) provides a more efficient coupling procedure for Boc-amino acid derivatives. Overall cycle times using TBTU/HOBt coupling reagents (30 min) compare favorably to those of the DCC-mediated procedure (approx 65 min). Dimethylformamide can be used as the sole solvent for both activation and coupling reactions. Implementation of TBTU/HOBt coupling conditions does not require replumbing of any lines of the Applied Biosystems Model 430A instrument and necessitates changes to only three reagent bottle positions. The variable coupling efficiencies of Boc-asparagine following activation with TBTU/HOBt (as low as 89%) can be overcome by protection of the amide function of Boc-asparagine with the 9-xanthyl group. Examples of the synthesis and characterization of a number of peptides ranging in length from 13 to 29 residues are given.


G E Reid, R J Simpson. Automated solid-phase peptide synthesis: use of 2-(1H-benzotriazol-1-yl)-1,1,3,3-tetramethyluronium tetrafluoroborate for coupling of tert-butyloxycarbonyl amino acids. Analytical biochemistry. 1992 Feb 1;200(2):301-9

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PMID: 1632494

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