Honors & Awards

  • The Emergency Postdoctoral Fellowship for an Outstanding Israeli Researcher, The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities (2021-2023)
  • The Jacobs Prize for Excellence in PhD Research, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (2020)
  • Travel Award, the 26th American Peptide Symposium, Monterey, USA, American Peptide Society (APS) (2019)

Professional Education

  • Postdoc, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Chemistry (2024)
  • PhD, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Chemistry (2021)
  • MSc, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Chemistry (2018)
  • MA, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Science and Technology Education (2014)
  • Chemistry Teaching Certificate, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Education (2011)
  • BSc, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Chemistry (2011)

Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Organic solvent enhances oxidative folding of disulfide-rich proteins. Nature chemistry Laps, S., Metanis, N. 2024

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41557-024-01518-9

    View details for PubMedID 38637699

    View details for PubMedCentralID 9814483

  • Selenium chemistry for spatio-selective peptide and protein functionalization. Nature reviews. Chemistry Zhao, Z., Laps, S., Gichtin, J. S., Metanis, N. 2024; 8 (3): 211-229


    The ability to construct a peptide or protein in a spatio-specific manner is of great interest for therapeutic and biochemical research. However, the various functional groups present in peptide sequences and the need to perform chemistry under mild and aqueous conditions make selective protein functionalization one of the greatest synthetic challenges. The fascinating paradox of selenium (Se) - being found in both toxic compounds and also harnessed by nature for essential biochemical processes - has inspired the recent exploration of selenium chemistry for site-selective functionalization of peptides and proteins. In this Review, we discuss such approaches, including metal-free and metal-catalysed transformations, as well as traceless chemical modifications. We report their advantages, limitations and applications, as well as future research avenues.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41570-024-00579-1

    View details for PubMedID 38388838

    View details for PubMedCentralID 8549674

  • The semisynthesis of nucleolar human selenoprotein H. Chemical science Dardashti, R. N., Laps, S., Gichtin, J. S., Metanis, N. 2023; 14 (44): 12723-12729


    The human selenoprotein H is the only selenocysteine-containing protein that is located in the cell's nucleolus. In vivo studies have suggested that it plays some role in DNA binding, consumption of reactive oxygen species, and may serve as a safeguard against cancers. However, the protein has never been isolated and, as a result, not yet fully characterized. Here, we used a semi-synthetic approach to obtain the full selenoprotein H with a S43T mutation. Using biolayer interferometry, we also show that the Cys-containing mutant of selenoprotein H is capable of binding DNA with sub-micromolar affinity. Employing state-of-the-art expressed protein ligation (EPL), our devised semi-synthetic approach can be utilized for the production of numerous, hard-to-obtain proteins of biological and therapeutic relevance.

    View details for DOI 10.1039/d3sc03059h

    View details for PubMedID 38020378

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC10646972

  • Photocleavable Ortho-Nitrobenzyl-Protected DNA Architectures and Their Applications. Chemical reviews O'Hagan, M. P., Duan, Z., Huang, F., Laps, S., Dong, J., Xia, F., Willner, I. 2023; 123 (10): 6839-6887


    This review article introduces mechanistic aspects and applications of photochemically deprotected ortho-nitrobenzyl (ONB)-functionalized nucleic acids and their impact on diverse research fields including DNA nanotechnology and materials chemistry, biological chemistry, and systems chemistry. Specific topics addressed include the synthesis of the ONB-modified nucleic acids, the mechanisms involved in the photochemical deprotection of the ONB units, and the photophysical and chemical means to tune the irradiation wavelength required for the photodeprotection process. Principles to activate ONB-caged nanostructures, ONB-protected DNAzymes and aptamer frameworks are introduced. Specifically, the use of ONB-protected nucleic acids for the phototriggered spatiotemporal amplified sensing and imaging of intracellular mRNAs at the single-cell level are addressed, and control over transcription machineries, protein translation and spatiotemporal silencing of gene expression by ONB-deprotected nucleic acids are demonstrated. In addition, photodeprotection of ONB-modified nucleic acids finds important applications in controlling material properties and functions. These are introduced by the phototriggered fusion of ONB nucleic acid functionalized liposomes as models for cell-cell fusion, the light-stimulated fusion of ONB nucleic acid functionalized drug-loaded liposomes with cells for therapeutic applications, and the photolithographic patterning of ONB nucleic acid-modified interfaces. Particularly, the photolithographic control of the stiffness of membrane-like interfaces for the guided patterned growth of cells is realized. Moreover, ONB-functionalized microcapsules act as light-responsive carriers for the controlled release of drugs, and ONB-modified DNA origami frameworks act as mechanical devices or stimuli-responsive containments for the operation of DNA machineries such as the CRISPR-Cas9 system. The future challenges and potential applications of photoprotected DNA structures are discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.chemrev.3c00016

    View details for PubMedID 37078690

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC10214457

  • Insight on the Order of Regioselective Ultrafast Formation of Disulfide Bonds in (Antimicrobial) Peptides and Miniproteins. Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English) Laps, S., Atamleh, F., Kamnesky, G., Uzi, S., Meijler, M. M., Brik, A. 2021; 60 (45): 24137-24143


    Disulfide-rich peptides and proteins are among the most fascinating bioactive molecules. The difficulties associated with the preparation of these targets have prompted the development of various chemical strategies. Nevertheless, the production of these targets remains very challenging or elusive. Recently, we introduced a strategy for one-pot disulfide bond formation, tackling most of the previous limitations. However, the effect of the order of oxidation remained an underexplored issue. Herein we report on the complete synthetic flexibility of the approach with respect to the order of oxidation of three disulfide bonds in targets that lack the knot motif. In contrast, our study reveals an essential order of disulfide bond formation in the EETI-II knotted miniprotein. This synthetic strategy was applied for the synthesis of novel analogues of the plectasin antimicrobial peptide with enhanced activities against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a notorious human pathogen.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/anie.202107861

    View details for PubMedID 34524726

  • Harnessing the power of transition metals in solid-phase peptide synthesis and key steps in the (semi)synthesis of proteins. Chemical Society reviews Laps, S., Satish, G., Brik, A. 2021; 50 (4): 2367-2387


    Peptides and proteins can be either synthesized using solid-phase peptide synthesis (SPPS) or by applying a combination of SPPS and ligation approaches to address fundamental questions related to human health and disease, among others. The demand for their production either by chemical or biological methods continues to raise significant interests from the synthetic community. In this context, transition metals such as Pd, Ag, Hg, Tl, Au, Zn, Ni, and Cu have also contributed to the field of peptide and protein synthesis such as in peptide conjugation, extending native chemical ligation (NCL), and for regioselective disulfide bonds formation. In this review, we highlight, summarize, and evaluate the use of various transition metals in the chemical synthesis of peptides and proteins with emphasis on recent developments in this exciting research area.

    View details for DOI 10.1039/d0cs01156h

    View details for PubMedID 33432943

  • General synthetic strategy for regioselective ultrafast formation of disulfide bonds in peptides and proteins. Nature communications Laps, S., Atamleh, F., Kamnesky, G., Sun, H., Brik, A. 2021; 12 (1): 870


    Despite six decades of efforts to synthesize peptides and proteins bearing multiple disulfide bonds, this synthetic challenge remains an unsolved problem in most targets (e.g., knotted mini proteins). Here we show a de novo general synthetic strategy for the ultrafast, high-yielding formation of two and three disulfide bonds in peptides and proteins. We develop an approach based on the combination of a small molecule, ultraviolet-light, and palladium for chemo- and regio-selective activation of cysteine, which enables the one-pot formation of multiple disulfide bonds in various peptides and proteins. We prepare bioactive targets of high therapeutic potential, including conotoxin, RANTES, EETI-II, and plectasin peptides and the linaclotide drug. We anticipate that this strategy will be a game-changer in preparing millions of inaccessible targets for drug discovery.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-021-21209-0

    View details for PubMedID 33558523

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7870662

  • Palladium-Mediated Direct Disulfide Bond Formation in Proteins Containing S-Acetamidomethyl-cysteine under Aqueous Conditions. Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English) Laps, S., Sun, H., Kamnesky, G., Brik, A. 2019; 58 (17): 5729-5733


    One of the applied synthetic strategies for correct disulfide bond formation relies on the use of orthogonal Cys protecting groups. This approach requires purification before and after the deprotection steps, which prolongs the entire synthetic process and lowers the yield of the reaction. A major challenge in using this approach is to be able to apply one-pot synthesis under mild conditions and aqueous media. In this study, we report the development of an approach for rapid disulfide bond formation by employing palladium chemistry and S-acetamidomethyl-cysteine [Cys(Acm)]. Oxidation of Cys(Acm) to the corresponding disulfide bond is achieved within minutes in a one-pot operation by applying palladium and diethyldithiocarbamate. The utility of this reaction was demonstrated by the synthesis of the peptide oxytocin and the first total chemical synthesis of the protein thioredoxin-1. Our investigation revealed a critical role of the Acm protecting group in the disulfide bond formation, apparently due to the generation of a disulfiram in the reaction pathway, which significantly assists the oxidation step.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/anie.201900988

    View details for PubMedID 30828918

  • Palladium prompted on-demand cysteine chemistry for the synthesis of challenging and uniquely modified proteins. Nature communications Jbara, M., Laps, S., Morgan, M., Kamnesky, G., Mann, G., Wolberger, C., Brik, A. 2018; 9 (1): 3154


    Organic chemistry allows for the modification and chemical preparation of protein analogues for various studies. The thiolate side chain of the Cys residue has been a key functionality in these ventures. In order to generate complex molecular targets, there is a particular need to incorporate orthogonal protecting groups of the thiolated amino acids to control the directionality of synthesis and modification site. Here, we demonstrate the tuning of palladium chemoselectivity in aqueous medium for on-demand deprotection of several Cys-protecting groups that are useful in protein synthesis and modification. These tools allow the preparation of highly complex analogues as we demonstrate in the synthesis of the copper storage protein and selectively modified peptides with multiple Cys residues. We also report the synthesis of an activity-based probe comprising ubiquitinated histone H2A and its incorporation into nucleosomes and demonstrate its reactivity with deubiquitinating enzyme to generate a covalent nucleosome-enzyme complex.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-018-05628-0

    View details for PubMedID 30089783

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6082840

  • Palladium-Assisted Cleavage of Peptides and Proteins Containing a Backbone with Thiazolidine Linkage. Chemistry (Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany) Jbara, M., Laps, S., Maity, S. K., Brik, A. 2016; 22 (42): 14851-14855


    The design and synthesis of biomolecules that are responsive to external stimuli is of great interest in various research areas, such as in the preparation of smart biomaterial and chemical biology. Polypeptide backbone disassembly as a response to a particular stimulus is of interest, as it leads to a complete loss of the protein tertiary structure and, as a result, to a loss of function. In this study, a strategy based on palladium-assisted efficient cleavage of backbone thiazolidine linkage in peptides and proteins was developed. Using a fluorescence-based assay, encompassing ubiquitinated peptide with a quenching florescence pair, it was possible to optimize the cleavage step after rapid screening of various conditions, such as the type of metal complexes and reaction additives. The optimized conditions prompted fast cleavage of the thiazolidine linkage. The straightforward introduction of a backbone thiazolidine linkage in peptide and proteins coupled with the chemical methods used offers new opportunities in controlling macromolecule function and might, with the aid of cellular protein delivery methods, be applied in cellular settings.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/chem.201603676

    View details for PubMedID 27550063

  • Efficient Palladium-Assisted One-Pot Deprotection of (Acetamidomethyl)Cysteine Following Native Chemical Ligation and/or Desulfurization To Expedite Chemical Protein Synthesis. Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English) Maity, S. K., Jbara, M., Laps, S., Brik, A. 2016; 55 (28): 8108-12


    The acetamidomethyl (Acm) moiety is a widely used cysteine protecting group for the chemical synthesis and semisynthesis of peptide and proteins. However, its removal is not straightforward and requires harsh reaction conditions and additional purification steps before and after the removal step, which extends the synthetic process and reduces the overall yield. To overcome these shortcomings, a method for rapid and efficient Acm removal using Pd(II) complexes in aqueous medium is reported. We show, for the first time, the assembly of three peptide fragments in a one-pot fashion by native chemical ligation where the Acm moiety was used to protect the N-terminal Cys of the middle fragment. Importantly, an efficient synthesis of the ubiquitin-like protein UBL-5, which contains two native Cys residues, was accomplished through the one-pot operation of three key steps, namely ligation, desulfurization, and Acm deprotection, highlighting the great utility of the new approach in protein synthesis.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/anie.201603169

    View details for PubMedID 27126503

  • Palladium-Assisted Removal of a Solubilizing Tag from a Cys Side Chain To Facilitate Peptide and Protein Synthesis. Organic letters Maity, S. K., Mann, G., Jbara, M., Laps, S., Kamnesky, G., Brik, A. 2016; 18 (12): 3026-9


    Reversible attachment of solubilizing tags to hydrophobic peptides to facilitate their purification and ligation is an essential yet challenging task in chemical protein synthesis. The efficient palladium-assisted removal of the solubilizing tag linked to the Cys side chain is reported. The strategy was applied for the efficient preparation of histone protein H4 from two fragments via one-pot operation of ligation, removal of the solubilizing tag, and desulfurization.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.orglett.6b01442

    View details for PubMedID 27268382