Chemical labeling of proteins with synthetic low-molecular-weight probes is an important technique in chemical biology. To achieve this, it is necessary to use chemical reactions that proceed rapidly under physiological conditions (i.e., aqueous solvent, pH, low concentration, and low temperature) so that protein denaturation does not occur. The radical reaction satisfies such demands of protein labeling, and protein labeling using the biomimetic radical reaction has recently attracted attention. The biomimetic radical reaction enables selective labeling of the C-terminus, tyrosine, and tryptophan, which is difficult to achieve with conventional electrophilic protein labeling. In addition, as the radical reaction proceeds selectively in close proximity to the catalyst, it can be applied to the analysis of protein–protein interactions. In this review, recent trends in protein labeling using biomimetic radical reactions are discussed.
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