Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Science. 2001 Apr 20;292(5516):501-4.

Enlarging the amino acid set of Escherichia coli by infiltration of the valine coding pathway.

Author information

  • 1Evologic SA, 4 rue Pierre Fontaine, 91000 Evry, France.


Aminoacyl transfer RNA (tRNA) synthetases establish the rules of the genetic code by catalyzing the aminoacylation of tRNAs. For some synthetases, accuracy depends critically on an editing function at a site distinct from the aminoacylation site. Mutants of Escherichia coli that incorrectly charge tRNA(Val) with cysteine were selected after random mutagenesis of the whole chromosome. All mutations obtained were located in the editing site of valyl-tRNA synthetase. More than 20% of the valine in cellular proteins from such an editing mutant organism could be replaced with the noncanonical aminobutyrate, sterically similar to cysteine. Thus, the editing function may have played a central role in restricting the genetic code to 20 amino acids. Disabling this editing function offers a powerful approach for diversifying the chemical composition of proteins and for emulating evolutionary stages of ambiguous translation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk