Sulfhydryl Reactive Liposomes

Online Inquiry

Sulfhydryl-activated liposomes contain groups that react with sulfhydryl (thiol) groups for the attachment of molecules containing sulfhydryl or thiol groups. It is therefore ideally suited for the adhesion of proteins, antibodies and other molecules containing active parts that are susceptible to thiolation. As a liposome specialist, BOC Sciences is able to provide high-quality liposome products and related customization services to customers with thiol-activated liposome needs.

What are Sulfhydryl Reactive Liposome?

The outer surface of sulfhydryl-reactive liposomes is modified with molecules or ligands containing thiol-reactive groups. Common reagents used for this purpose include maleimides and pyridinyl disulfides, which form stable thioether bonds with sulfhydryl groups.

The reaction scheme of maleimides with thiol group. – BOC SciencesFigure 1. The reaction scheme of maleimides with thiol group.

Sulfhydryl-activated liposomes are mainly used for bioconjugation purposes, because the introduction of thiol-reactive groups on the surface of liposomes allows for the covalent attachment of thiol-containing molecules (e.g., peptides, antibodies, or drugs) to the liposome.

Some Common Thiolation Reactions

  • Thiol-disulfide Bond Exchange

Thiol groups can react with disulfide bonds (S-S) to form new disulfide bonds or break existing ones. This reaction is critical for the formation and breakage of disulfide bonds in proteins and can affect protein structure and function. Reducing agents, such as dithiothreitol (DTT) or β-mercaptoethanol, are commonly used to cleave disulfide bonds via thiol-disulfide bond exchange reactions.

  • Thiol Addition Reactions (Thiolysis)

Thiol groups can undergo addition reactions with a variety of electrophilic reagents. For example, they can react with alkyl halides, epoxides and acyl halides to form thioethers, thioacetals or thioesters, respectively.

  • Oxidation of Thiols

Thiol groups can be oxidized to form disulfide bonds. This oxidation reaction can be enzymatic, such as the formation of cystine from cysteine residues in proteins, or it can be induced by chemical oxidizing agents such as iodine or hydrogen peroxide.

  • Thiol-maleimide Reaction

This is a common bioconjugation reaction used to modify biomolecules. The maleimide group reacts specifically with the thiol group to form a stable thioether bond. It is commonly used to attach thiol-containing molecules, such as peptides or antibodies, to other molecules or surfaces.

Applications of Sulfhydryl Reactive Liposome

Sulfhydryl responsive liposomes can be conjugated to thiol-containing molecules (e.g., peptides, antibodies, or drugs) via thiolation reactions for the development of immunoliposomes.

Sulfhydryl reactive liposomes are highly biocompatible and stable and can be used in the design of enhanced stability of liposomes and in the development of drug delivery systems.

Sulfhydryl reactive liposomes can be used for targeted drug delivery by orienting to specific cells or tissues, thereby increasing drug delivery precision and reducing side effects.

Sulfhydryl reactive liposomes also have potential for diagnostic applications. By modifying it with thiol-containing probes, dyes, or imaging agents, it is possible to detect and image specific biomolecules or cellular processes.

Maleimide-decorated pegylated mucoadhesive liposomes.Figure 2. Maleimide-decorated pegylated mucoadhesive liposomes.( R, V, Moiseev, 2022)

Advantages of BOC Sciences' Sulfhydryl Reactive Liposome

  • BOC Sciecnes offers sulfhydryl reactive liposome products that are purified and tested in multiple steps to ensure consistent and reliable product quality.
  • BOC Sciecnes offers a wide range of sulfhydryl reactive liposome products covering many important biological systems and applications.
  • BOC Sciecnes can produce on a large or small scale according to customer requirements to meet different research needs.
  • BOC Sciecnes' research team has extensive experience in sulfhydryl reactive liposome production and research, and can provide professional technical support and advice.

For more custom services about our amine reactive liposomes, please feel free to contact us.


  1. R, V, Moiseev.; et al. Maleimide-Decorated PEGylated Mucoadhesive Liposomes for Ocular Drug Delivery. Langmuir. 2022, 38(45): 13870–13879.

Copyright © BOC Sciences. All rights reserved.

Inquiry Basket