Incorporation of β-amino acids into dihydrofolate reductase by ribosomes having modifications in the peptidyltransferase center

Rumit Maini, Dan T. Nguyen, Shengxi Chen, Larisa Dedkova, Sandipan Roy Chowdhury, Rafael Alcala-Torano, Sidney Hecht

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66 Scopus citations


Ribosomes containing modifications in three regions of 23S rRNA, all of which are in proximity to the ribosomal peptidyltransferase center (PTC), were utilized previously as a source of S-30 preparations for in vitro protein biosynthesis experiments. When utilized in the presence of mRNAs containing UAG codons at predetermined positions + β-alanyl-tRNACUA, the modified ribosomes produced enhanced levels of full length proteins via UAG codon suppression. In the present study, these earlier results have been extended by the use of substituted β-amino acids, and direct evidence for β-amino acid incorporation is provided. Presently, five of the clones having modified ribosomes are used in experiments employing four substituted β-amino acids, including α-methyl-β-alanine, β,β-dimethyl-β-alanine, β-phenylalanine, and β-(p-bromophenyl)alanine. The β-amino acids were incorporated into three different positions (10, 18 and 49) of Escherichia coli dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) and their efficiencies of suppression of the UAG codons were compared with those of β-alanine and representative α-l-amino acids. The isolated proteins containing the modified β-amino acids were subjected to proteolytic digestion, and the derived fragments were characterized by mass spectrometry, establishing that the β-amino acids had been incorporated into DHFR, and that they were present exclusively in the anticipated peptide fragments. DHFR contains glutamic acid in position 17, and it has been shown previously that Glu-C endoproteinase can hydrolyze DHFR between amino acids residues 17 and 18. The incorporation of β,β-dimethyl-β-alanine into position 18 of DHFR prevented this cleavage, providing further evidence for the position of incorporation of the β-amino acid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1088-1096
Number of pages9
JournalBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013


  • Aminoacylation
  • Beta-amino acids
  • Modified ribosomes
  • Protein synthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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