The scope of photobiological processes that involve absorbers within a protein matrix may be limited by the vulnerability of the peptide group to attack by highly reactive redox centers consequent upon electronic excitation. We have explored the nature of this vulnerability by undertaking comprehensive product analyses of aqueous photolysates of 12 N-p-toluenesulfonyl peptides with systematically selected structures. The results indicate that degradation includes a major pathway that is initiated by intramolecular electron transfer in which the peptide bond serves as electron donor, and the data support the likelihood of a relay process in dipeptide derivatives.
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Vol. 81 • No. 6