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For a reaction to be generally useful for protein modification, it must be site-selective and efficient under conditions compatible with proteins: aqueous media, low to ambient temperature, and at or near neutral pH. To engineer a reaction that satisfies these conditions is not a simple task. Olefin metathesis is one of most useful reactions for carbon-carbon bond formation, but does it fit these requirements? This minireview is an account of the development of olefin metathesis for protein modification. Highlighted below are examples of olefin metathesis in peptidic systems and in aqueous media that laid the groundwork for successful metathesis on protein substrates. Also discussed are the opportunities in protein engineering for the genetic introduction of amino acids suitable for metathesis and the related challenges in chemistry and biology.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





959 - 969


Alkenes, Binding Sites, Peptides, Proteins, Substrate Specificity, Water