Engineering a Polyspecific Pyrrolysyl-tRNA Synthetase by a High Throughput FACS Screen.

Adrian Hohl, Ram Karan, Anastassja Gespers (Akal), Dominik Renn, Xuechao Liu, Seema Arun Ghoprade, Michael Groll, Magnus Rueping, Jörg Eppinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The Pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetase (PylRS) and its cognate tRNAPyl are extensively used to add non-canonical amino acids (ncAAs) to the genetic code of bacterial and eukaryotic cells. However, new ncAAs often require a cumbersome de novo engineering process to generate an appropriate PylRS/tRNAPyl pair. We here report a strategy to predict a PylRS variant with novel properties. The designed polyspecific PylRS variant HpRS catalyzes the aminoacylation of 31 structurally diverse ncAAs bearing clickable, fluorinated, fluorescent, and for the first time biotinylated entities. Moreover, we demonstrated a site-specific and copper-free conjugation strategy of a nanobody by the incorporation of biotin. The design of polyspecific PylRS variants offers an attractive alternative to existing screening approaches and provides insights into the complex PylRS-substrate interactions.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 19 2019

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: Te research reported in this publication was supported by funding from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). We thank the SFB749/A10 (M.G.) for fnancial support. We are grateful to Prof. Peter G. Schultz (Te Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA) for kindly providing the original pEVOL-PylRS plasmid.


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