Facilitated synthesis of proteins containing modified dipeptides

Chao Zhang, Poulami Talukder, Larisa M. Dedkova, Sidney M. Hecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The elaboration of peptides and proteins containing non-proteinogenic amino acids has been realized using several complementary strategies, including chemical synthesis, ribosome- or non-ribosome-mediated elaboration, intein-mediated polypeptide rearrangements, or some combination of these strategies. All of these have strengths and limitations, and significant efforts have been focused on minimizing the effects of limitations, to improve the overall utility of individual strategies. Our laboratory has studied ribosomally mediated peptide and protein synthesis involving a wide variety of non-proteinogenic amino acids, and in recent years we have described a novel strategy for the selection of modified bacterial ribosomes. These modified ribosomes have enabled the incorporation into peptides and proteins of numerous modified amino acids not accessible using wild-type ribosomes. This has included D-amino acids, β-amino acids, dipeptides and dipeptidomimetic species, as well as phosphorylated amino acids. Presently, we have considered novel strategies for incorporating non-proteinogenic amino acids in improved yields. This has included the incorporation of non-proteinogenic amino acids into contiguous positions, a transformation known to be challenging. We demonstrate the preparation of this type of protein modification by utilizing a suppressor tRNACUA activated with a dipeptide consisting of two identical non-proteinogenic amino acids, in the presence of modified ribosomes selected to recognize such dipeptides. Also, we demonstrate that the use of bis-aminoacylated suppressor tRNAs, shown previously to increase protein yields significantly in vitro, can be extended to the use of non-proteinogenic amino acids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116210
JournalBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021


  • Bisaminoacylated tRNAs
  • Modified protein synthesis
  • Modified ribosomes
  • Non-proteinogenic dipeptides
  • Nonsense codon suppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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