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10 Years at GSC (Genomic Sciences Center)

Development of a method to search
for unidentified target proteins using a non-natural amino acid

The Protein Research Group and the University of Tokyo have succeeded in developing a method for photo-crosslinking proteins by incorporating a non-natural amino acid into proteins in mammalian cells.
Grb2, associated with canceration, binds to the EGF receptor.The research groups incorporated a photo-reactive amino acid, p-benzoyl-L-phenylalanine, into Grb2 in mammalian cells, succeeding in crosslinking between Grb2 and the receptor upon a light exposure.
  Target proteins can be similarly identified using this method because of the stability of cross-linked protein complexes due to covalent bonding.Researchers only need to introduce the genes for proteins of interest into the cells, with the non-natural amino acid in the growth medium.This amino acid will be site-specifically incorporated into these proteins.This method is a useful tool to elucidate the complicated network of protein-protein interactions underlying the molecular mechanism of canceration.
  This research result has been published on February 17, 2005 in the U.S.A. science journal Nature Methods.