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Journal Club | Genesis: Bringing Unnatural Amino Acids into Life


Speaker:Yujie Shi(石玉洁), Chenlei Hu(胡晨蕾), Zhangzheng Liao(廖章正) and Xiaoyu Yang(杨晓宇)

Abstract: The genetic code—the language used by cells to translate their genomes into proteins that perform many cellular functions—is highly conserved throughout natural life. Rewriting the genetic code could lead to new biological functions such as expanding protein chemistries with noncanonical amino acids (ncAAs) and genetically isolating synthetic organisms from natural organisms and viruses. It has long been possible to transiently produce proteins bearing ncAAs, but stabilizing an expanded genetic code for sustained function in vivo requires an integrated approach: creating recoded genomes and introducing new translation machinery that function together without compromising viability or clashing with endogenous pathways. During this Journal Club, the main papers will discuss how to prevent microorganism leakage by implanting noncanonical amino acids into E.coli (2015 Nature) and how to design orthogonal aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (AARSs) systems by directed evolution (2017 Nature Chemical Biology). In the discussion Yejie Shi will discuss various applications of ncAAs in chemical biology, such as protein targeting and protein activity control. The knowledge obtained by rewriting the genetic code will deepen our understanding of how genomes are designed and how the canonical genetic code evolved.

Guest information:

Dr. Juanjuan Du (THU)

Recommend Literatures:


Mukai, Takahito, et al. "Rewriting the genetic code." Annual review of microbiology 71 (2017): 557-577.


1.Mandell, Daniel J., et al. "Biocontainment of genetically modified organisms by synthetic protein design." Nature 518.7537 (2015): 55-60.

2.Bryson, David I., et al. "Continuous directed evolution of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases." Nature chemical biology 13.12 (2017): 1253.

3.Yang, Bing, et al. "Spontaneous and specific chemical cross-linking in live cells to capture and identify protein interactions." Nature communications 8.1 (2017): 2240.