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Expanding the Genetic Code of Escherichia coli

Science  20 Apr 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5516, pp. 498-500
DOI: 10.1126/science.1060077

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Abstract

A unique transfer RNA (tRNA)/aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase pair has been generated that expands the number of genetically encoded amino acids in Escherichia coli. When introduced into E. coli, this pair leads to the in vivo incorporation of the synthetic amino acid O-methyl-l-tyrosine into protein in response to an amber nonsense codon. The fidelity of translation is greater than 99%, as determined by analysis of dihydrofolate reductase containing the unnatural amino acid. This approach should provide a general method for increasing the genetic repertoire of living cells to include a variety of amino acids with novel structural, chemical, and physical properties not found in the common 20 amino acids.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: schultz{at}scripps.edu

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