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  1. Abstract

    Ribosome-mediated polymerization of backbone-extended monomers into polypeptides is challenging due to their poor compatibility with the translation apparatus, which evolved to use α-L-amino acids. Moreover, mechanisms to acylate (or charge) these monomers to transfer RNAs (tRNAs) to make aminoacyl-tRNA substrates is a bottleneck. Here, we rationally design non-canonical amino acid analogs with extended carbon chains (γ-, δ-, ε-, and ζ-) or cyclic structures (cyclobutane, cyclopentane, and cyclohexane) to improve tRNA charging. We then demonstrate site-specific incorporation of these non-canonical, backbone-extended monomers at the N- and C- terminus of peptides using wild-type and engineered ribosomes. This work expands the scope ofmore »ribosome-mediated polymerization, setting the stage for new medicines and materials.

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  2. Abstract

    Ribosome engineering is a powerful approach for expanding the catalytic potential of the protein synthesis apparatus. Due to the potential detriment the properties of the engineered ribosome may have on the cell, the designer ribosome needs to be functionally isolated from the translation machinery synthesizing cellular proteins. One solution to this problem was offered by Ribo-T, an engineered ribosome with tethered subunits which, while producing a desired protein, could be excluded from general translation. Here, we provide a conceptually different design of a cell with two orthogonal protein synthesis systems, where Ribo-T produces the proteome, while the dissociable ribosome is committedmore »to the translation of a specific mRNA. The utility of this system is illustrated by generating a comprehensive collection of mutants with alterations at every rRNA nucleotide of the peptidyl transferase center and isolating gain-of-function variants that enable the ribosome to overcome the translation termination blockage imposed by an arrest peptide.

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  3. Abstract

    Directed evolution of the ribosome for expanded substrate incorporation and novel functions is challenging because the requirement of cell viability limits the mutations that can be made. Here we address this challenge by combining cell-free synthesis and assembly of translationally competent ribosomes with ribosome display to develop a fully in vitro methodology for ribosome synthesis and evolution (called RISE). We validate the RISE method by selecting active genotypes from a ~1.7 × 107member library of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) variants, as well as identifying mutant ribosomes resistant to the antibiotic clindamycin from a library of ~4 × 103rRNA variants. We further demonstrate the prevalencemore »of positive epistasis in resistant genotypes, highlighting the importance of such interactions in selecting for new function. We anticipate that RISE will facilitate understanding of molecular translation and enable selection of ribosomes with altered properties.

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  4. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Cell-free gene expression (CFE) systems from crude cellular extracts have attracted much attention for biomanufacturing and synthetic biology. However, activating membrane-dependent functionality of cell-derived vesicles in bacterial CFE systems has been limited. Here, we address this limitation by characterizing native membrane vesicles in Escherichia coli- based CFE extracts and describing methods to enrich vesicles with heterologous, membrane-bound machinery. As a model, we focus on bacterial glycoengineering. We first use multiple, orthogonal techniques to characterize vesicles and show how extract processing methods can be used to increase concentrations of membrane vesicles in CFE systems. Then, we show that extracts enrichedmore »in vesicle number also display enhanced concentrations of heterologous membrane protein cargo. Finally, we apply our methods to enrich membrane-bound oligosaccharyltransferases and lipid-linked oligosaccharides for improving cell-free N- linked and O -linked glycoprotein synthesis. We anticipate that these methods will facilitate on-demand glycoprotein production and enable new CFE systems with membrane-associated activities.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  5. We demonstrate in vitro incorporation of cyclic β-amino acids into peptides by the ribosome through genetic code reprogramming. Further, we show that incorporation efficiency can be increased through the addition of elongation factor P.
  6. Abstract Engineering the process of molecular translation, or protein biosynthesis, has emerged as a major opportunity in synthetic and chemical biology to generate novel biological insights and enable new applications (e.g. designer protein therapeutics). Here, we review methods for engineering the process of translation in vitro. We discuss the advantages and drawbacks of the two major strategies—purified and extract-based systems—and how they may be used to manipulate and study translation. Techniques to engineer each component of the translation machinery are covered in turn, including transfer RNAs, translation factors, and the ribosome. Finally, future directions and enabling technological advances for themore »field are discussed.« less