Coupling Bioorthogonal Chemistries with Artificial Metabolism: Intracellular Biosynthesis of Azidohomoalanine and its Incorporation into Recombinant Proteins
Ma, Y., Biava, H., Contestabile, R., Budisa, N. & M.L. di Salvo – 2014
In this paper, we present a novel, “single experiment” methodology based on genetic engineering of metabolic pathways for direct intracellular production of non-canonical amino acids from simple precursors, coupled with expanded genetic code. In particular, we engineered the intracellular biosynthesis of L-azidohomoalanine from O-acetyl-L-homoserine and NaN3, and achieved its direct incorporation into recombinant target proteins by AUG codon reassignment in a methionine-auxotroph E. coli strain. In our system, the host’s methionine biosynthetic pathway was first diverted towards the production of the desired non-canonical amino acid by exploiting the broad reaction specificity of recombinant pyridoxal phosphate-dependent O-acetylhomoserine sulfhydrylase from Corynebacterium glutamicum. Then, the expression of the target protein barstar, accompanied with efficient L-azidohomoalanine incorporation in place of L-methionine, was accomplished. This work stands as proof-of-principle and paves the way for additional work towards intracellular production and site-specific incorporation of biotechnologically relevant non-canonical amino acids directly from common fermentable sources.