Preparation and Kinetic Properties of Cysteine Surfactants

Robert A. Moss, Thomas J. Lukas, Robert C. Nahas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


A cysteine surfactant (IV, AS-Cys) was synthesized by coupling cysteine to N-cetyl-N, N,-dimethyl-N-β-aminoethyl-ammonium chloride. Under micellar conditions at pH 8.0, excess AS-Cys cleaved p-nitrophenyl acetate (PNPA) with kψmax=1.04 s-1 (corresponding to &:cat=26.0 L/mol-s), and the formation of S-acetyl-AS-Cys. The latter surfactant underwent intramolecular S→N transfer (A:max=0.44 s-1 for nonmicellar conditions at pH 8.0, k=0.01 s-1 in 5.5X10-3 M micellar cetyltrimethylammonium chloride) affording N-acetyl-AS-Cys. A second mole of PNPA could be cleaved by the free SH group of micellar N-acetyl-AS-Cys (kψmax=1.45 s-1 at pH 8.0, corresponding to kcat=36.3 L/mol s) yielding N, S-diacetyl-AS-Cys. S-Deacetylation of the latter was slow (kψ~5X10-5 s-1) under micellar conditions at pH 8, but could be accelerated by comicellization with imidazole-functionalized surfactants (e.g., kψ=9.2X10-4 s-1). Various mechanistic aspects of these reactions are discussed in detai.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5920-5927
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number18
StatePublished - 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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