Unprotected peptide thiols are efficiently oxidized to peptide disulfides in homogeneous water. The oxidation reaction proceeds under ambient pressure of oxygen (1 atm), using a readily available RhCl3 catalyst. The reaction can also tolerate amino acid residues Gly, Ala, Val, Len, Ile, Phe, Ser, Tyr, Lys, Asp, Gln, His, Trp, and Met. The mechanism involving the formation of unstable sulfenic acid is provided.
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