Acylation
Overview
 
In chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

, acylation (rarely, but more formally: alkanoylation) is the process of adding an acyl
Acyl
An acyl group is a functional group derived by the removal of one or more hydroxyl groups from an oxoacid, including inorganic acids.In organic chemistry, the acyl group is usually derived from a carboxylic acid . Therefore, it has the formula RCO-, where R represents an alkyl group that is...

 group to a compound. The compound providing the acyl group is called the acylating agent.

Because they form a strong electrophile
Electrophile
In general electrophiles are positively charged species that are attracted to an electron rich centre. In chemistry, an electrophile is a reagent attracted to electrons that participates in a chemical reaction by accepting an electron pair in order to bond to a nucleophile...

 when treated with some metal catalysts, acyl halide
Acyl halide
An acyl halide is a chemical compound derived from an oxoacid by replacing a hydroxyl group with a halide group....

s are commonly used as acylating agents. For example, Friedel-Crafts acylation
Friedel-Crafts reaction
The Friedel–Crafts reactions are a set of reactions developed by Charles Friedel and James Crafts in 1877. There are two main types of Friedel–Crafts reactions: alkylation reactions and acylation reactions. This reaction type is a form of electrophilic aromatic substitution...

 uses acetyl chloride
Acetyl chloride
Acetyl chloride, CH3COCl, also known as ethanoyl chloride or acyl chloride, is an acid chloride derived from acetic acid. It belongs to the class of organic compounds called acyl halides. It is a colorless liquid. Acetyl chloride does not exist in nature, because contact with water would hydrolyze...

 (ethanoyl chloride), C
Carbon
Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds...

H
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

3C
Carbon
Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds...

O
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

Cl
Chloride
The chloride ion is formed when the element chlorine, a halogen, picks up one electron to form an anion Cl−. The salts of hydrochloric acid HCl contain chloride ions and can also be called chlorides. The chloride ion, and its salts such as sodium chloride, are very soluble in water...

, as the agent and aluminum chloride (AlCl3) as a catalyst to add an ethanoyl (acetyl
Acetyl
In organic chemistry, acetyl is a functional group, the acyl with chemical formula COCH3. It is sometimes represented by the symbol Ac . The acetyl group contains a methyl group single-bonded to a carbonyl...

) group to benzene
Benzene
Benzene is an organic chemical compound. It is composed of 6 carbon atoms in a ring, with 1 hydrogen atom attached to each carbon atom, with the molecular formula C6H6....

:


The mechanism of this reaction is electrophilic substitution
Electrophilic substitution
Electrophilic substitution reactions are chemical reactions in which an electrophile displaces a group in a compound, typically but not always hydrogen. Electrophilic aromatic substitution is characteristic of aromatic compounds and is an important way of introducing functional groups onto benzene...

.

Acyl halide
Acyl halide
An acyl halide is a chemical compound derived from an oxoacid by replacing a hydroxyl group with a halide group....

s and anhydrides of carboxylic acid
Carboxylic acid
Carboxylic acids are organic acids characterized by the presence of at least one carboxyl group. The general formula of a carboxylic acid is R-COOH, where R is some monovalent functional group...

s are also commonly used acylating agents to acylate amine
Amine
Amines are organic compounds and functional groups that contain a basic nitrogen atom with a lone pair. Amines are derivatives of ammonia, wherein one or more hydrogen atoms have been replaced by a substituent such as an alkyl or aryl group. Important amines include amino acids, biogenic amines,...

s to form amide
Amide
In chemistry, an amide is an organic compound that contains the functional group consisting of a carbonyl group linked to a nitrogen atom . The term refers both to a class of compounds and a functional group within those compounds. The term amide also refers to deprotonated form of ammonia or an...

s or acylate alcohol
Alcohol
In chemistry, an alcohol is an organic compound in which the hydroxy functional group is bound to a carbon atom. In particular, this carbon center should be saturated, having single bonds to three other atoms....

s to form ester
Ester
Esters are chemical compounds derived by reacting an oxoacid with a hydroxyl compound such as an alcohol or phenol. Esters are usually derived from an inorganic acid or organic acid in which at least one -OH group is replaced by an -O-alkyl group, and most commonly from carboxylic acids and...

s.
Encyclopedia
In chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

, acylation (rarely, but more formally: alkanoylation) is the process of adding an acyl
Acyl
An acyl group is a functional group derived by the removal of one or more hydroxyl groups from an oxoacid, including inorganic acids.In organic chemistry, the acyl group is usually derived from a carboxylic acid . Therefore, it has the formula RCO-, where R represents an alkyl group that is...

 group to a compound. The compound providing the acyl group is called the acylating agent.

Because they form a strong electrophile
Electrophile
In general electrophiles are positively charged species that are attracted to an electron rich centre. In chemistry, an electrophile is a reagent attracted to electrons that participates in a chemical reaction by accepting an electron pair in order to bond to a nucleophile...

 when treated with some metal catalysts, acyl halide
Acyl halide
An acyl halide is a chemical compound derived from an oxoacid by replacing a hydroxyl group with a halide group....

s are commonly used as acylating agents. For example, Friedel-Crafts acylation
Friedel-Crafts reaction
The Friedel–Crafts reactions are a set of reactions developed by Charles Friedel and James Crafts in 1877. There are two main types of Friedel–Crafts reactions: alkylation reactions and acylation reactions. This reaction type is a form of electrophilic aromatic substitution...

 uses acetyl chloride
Acetyl chloride
Acetyl chloride, CH3COCl, also known as ethanoyl chloride or acyl chloride, is an acid chloride derived from acetic acid. It belongs to the class of organic compounds called acyl halides. It is a colorless liquid. Acetyl chloride does not exist in nature, because contact with water would hydrolyze...

 (ethanoyl chloride), C
Carbon
Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds...

H
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

3C
Carbon
Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds...

O
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

Cl
Chloride
The chloride ion is formed when the element chlorine, a halogen, picks up one electron to form an anion Cl−. The salts of hydrochloric acid HCl contain chloride ions and can also be called chlorides. The chloride ion, and its salts such as sodium chloride, are very soluble in water...

, as the agent and aluminum chloride (AlCl3) as a catalyst to add an ethanoyl (acetyl
Acetyl
In organic chemistry, acetyl is a functional group, the acyl with chemical formula COCH3. It is sometimes represented by the symbol Ac . The acetyl group contains a methyl group single-bonded to a carbonyl...

) group to benzene
Benzene
Benzene is an organic chemical compound. It is composed of 6 carbon atoms in a ring, with 1 hydrogen atom attached to each carbon atom, with the molecular formula C6H6....

:


The mechanism of this reaction is electrophilic substitution
Electrophilic substitution
Electrophilic substitution reactions are chemical reactions in which an electrophile displaces a group in a compound, typically but not always hydrogen. Electrophilic aromatic substitution is characteristic of aromatic compounds and is an important way of introducing functional groups onto benzene...

.

Acyl halide
Acyl halide
An acyl halide is a chemical compound derived from an oxoacid by replacing a hydroxyl group with a halide group....

s and anhydrides of carboxylic acid
Carboxylic acid
Carboxylic acids are organic acids characterized by the presence of at least one carboxyl group. The general formula of a carboxylic acid is R-COOH, where R is some monovalent functional group...

s are also commonly used acylating agents to acylate amine
Amine
Amines are organic compounds and functional groups that contain a basic nitrogen atom with a lone pair. Amines are derivatives of ammonia, wherein one or more hydrogen atoms have been replaced by a substituent such as an alkyl or aryl group. Important amines include amino acids, biogenic amines,...

s to form amide
Amide
In chemistry, an amide is an organic compound that contains the functional group consisting of a carbonyl group linked to a nitrogen atom . The term refers both to a class of compounds and a functional group within those compounds. The term amide also refers to deprotonated form of ammonia or an...

s or acylate alcohol
Alcohol
In chemistry, an alcohol is an organic compound in which the hydroxy functional group is bound to a carbon atom. In particular, this carbon center should be saturated, having single bonds to three other atoms....

s to form ester
Ester
Esters are chemical compounds derived by reacting an oxoacid with a hydroxyl compound such as an alcohol or phenol. Esters are usually derived from an inorganic acid or organic acid in which at least one -OH group is replaced by an -O-alkyl group, and most commonly from carboxylic acids and...

s. The amines and alcohols are nucleophiles; the mechanism is nucleophilic addition-elimination. Succinic acid
Succinic acid
Succinic acid is a dicarboxylic acid. Succinate plays a biochemical role in the citric acid cycle. The name derives from Latin succinum, meaning amber, from which the acid may be obtained....

 is also commonly used in a specific type of acylation called succination. Oversuccination occurs when more than one succinate adds to a single compound.

Acylation in biology

Protein acylation is the post-translational modification of proteins via the attachment of functional groups
Functional group
In organic chemistry, functional groups are specific groups of atoms within molecules that are responsible for the characteristic chemical reactions of those molecules. The same functional group will undergo the same or similar chemical reaction regardless of the size of the molecule it is a part of...

 through acyl linkages. One prominent type is fatty acylation, the addition of fatty acids to particular amino acids (e.g. myristoylation
Myristoylation
Myristoylation is an irreversible, co-translational protein modification found in animals, plants, fungi, protozoans and viruses. In this protein modification, a myristoyl group is covalently attached via an amide bond to the alpha-amino group of an N-terminal amino acid of a nascent polypeptide...

 or palmitoylation
Palmitoylation
S-Palmitoylation is the covalent attachment of fatty acids, such as palmitic acid, to cysteine residues of membrane proteins. The precise function of palmitoylation depends on the particular protein being considered. Palmitoylation enhances the hydrophobicity of proteins and contributes to their...

). Protein acylation has been observed as a mechanism of biological signaling.
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