- Shybeka, I.; Maynard, J. R. J.; Saidjalolov, S.; Moreau, D.; Sakai, N.; Matile, S. “Dynamic Covalent Michael Acceptors to Penetrate Cells: Thiol-Mediated Uptake with Tetrel-Centered Exchange Cascades, Assisted by Halogen-Bonding Switches” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2022, 61, e202213433
Chalcogen-centered cascade exchange chemistry is increasingly understood to account for thiol-mediated uptake, that is, the ability of reversibly thiol-reactive agents to penetrate cells. Here, reversible Michael acceptors are shown to enable and inhibit thiol-mediated uptake, including the cytosolic delivery of proteins. Dynamic cyano-cinnamate dimers rival the best chalcogen-centered inhibitors. Patterns generated in inhibition heatmaps reveal contributions from halogen-bonding switches that occur independent from the thyroid transporter MCT8. The uniqueness of these patterns supports that the entry of tetrel-centered exchangers into cells differs from chalcogen-centered systems. These results expand the chemical space of thiol-mediated uptake and support the existence of a universal exchange network to bring matter into cells, abiding to be decoded for drug delivery and drug discovery in the broadest sense.