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Journal of the American Chemical Society

Ribosomal synthesis of dehydroalanine-containing peptides.


PMID 16734454

Abstract

Dehydroalanine is a nonproteinogenic amino acid, but it is a component of a wide variety of natural products with therapeutic activities. Indeed, this alpha,beta-unsaturated residue is a highly versatile building block due to its rigidifying effect on peptide backbones and its electrophilicity which allows site-specific thiol ligations of peptides with small molecules or proteins. To harness such versatility in genetically encoded, combinatorial peptide libraries, we report a simple and robust method for the ribosomal synthesis of dehydroalanine-containing peptides. Selenalysine, a selenium-containing lysine analogue, was recruited as a masked dehydroalanine equivalent. This residue is efficiently incorporated by a reconstituted Escherichia coli translation system at high fidelity and efficiency despite the presence of low levels of lysine. Mild oxidative conditions were used to convert selenalysine into dehydroalanine post-translationally. Using this method, we demonstrate the preparation of polyunsaturated and highly decorated peptides. This report is an important step toward the preparation and selection of large libraries of protein-reactive compounds with potential use as novel drugs or as analytical tools.

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