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10 Years at GSC (Genomic Sciences Center)

Structural determination of an engineered aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase for synthesizing alloproteins containing a heavy atom

“Alloproteins” containing nonnatural amino acids have been produced.The Protein Research Group, the University of Tokyo and Banyu Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. have determined the structure of an enzyme, the key to an alloprotein production, by X-ray crystallographic analysis.
  The biosynthesis of proteins from the genetic information requires aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases correctly binding tRNAs to particular amino acids. Some synthetases modified by genetic engineering have been used to artificially change the DNA code. In 2002, an engineered tyrosyl-tRNA synthetase (TyrRS)has been used successfully to produce proteins with nonnatural amino acids containing a heavy atom such as iodine. However, it remained to elucidate how this engineered TyrRS recognizes such amino acids and binds them to tRNA.
The research groups succeeded in determining the structure of the complex between this TyrRS, and an amino acid containing a heavy iodine atom (3-iodo-L-tyrosine) at the atomic resolution utilizing Spring-8, a large-scale synchrotron radiation facility in Harima, Hyogo Pref.
  These research results were published in the February issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.