Plasmids containing 23S rRNA randomized at positions 2057-2063 and 2502-2507 were introduced into Escherichia coli, affording a library of clones which produced modified ribosomes in addition to the pre-existing wild-type ribosomes. These clones were screened with a derivative of puromycin, a natural product which acts as an analogue of the 3'-end of aminoacyl-tRNA and terminates protein synthesis by accepting the growing polypeptide chain, thereby killing bacterial cells. The puromycin derivative in this study contained the dipeptide p-methoxyphenylalanylglycine, implying the ability of the modified ribosomes in clones sensitive to this puromycin analogue to recognize dipeptides. Several clones inhibited by the puromycin derivative were used to make S-30 preparations, and some of these were shown to support the incorporation of dipeptides into proteins. The four incorporated species included two dipeptides (Gly-Phe (2) and Phe-Gly (3)), as well as a thiolated dipeptide analogue (4) and a fluorescent oxazole (5) having amine and carboxyl groups approximately the same distance apart as in a normal dipeptide. A protein containing both thiolated dipeptide 4 and a 7-methoxycoumarin fluorophore was found to undergo fluorescence quenching. Introduction of the oxazole fluorophore 5 into dihydrofolate reductase or green fluorescent protein resulted in quite strong enhancement of its fluorescence emission, and the basis for this enhancement was studied. The aggregate results demonstrate the feasibility of incorporating dipeptides as a single ribosomal event, and illustrate the lack of recognition of the central peptide bond in the dipeptide, potentially enabling the incorporation of a broad variety of structural analogues.
Maini, R., Dedkova, L. M., Paul, R., Madathil, M. M., Chowdhury, S. R., Chen, S., & Hecht, S. M. (2015). Ribosome-mediated incorporation of dipeptides and dipeptide analogues into proteins in vitro. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 137(35), 11206-11209.
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