A.W. Feldman, F.E. Romesberg, J Am Chem Soc (2017) 139:11427–11433.
We screened 135 candidate UBPs for optimal performance in an SSO, comparing the resulting in vivo SARs to those collected previously in vitro. In addition to some interesting differences, the present screen identified four UBPs whose retention in the DNA of an SSO is higher than that of dNaM-dTPT3, which was previously the most promising UBP identified.
T. Chen, F.E. Romesberg, J Am Chem Soc (2017) 139:9949–9954.
We show that the evolved Stoffel fragment mutant, SFM4-3, efficiently transcribes RNA or 2′-F-modified RNA and that it also efficiently PCR amplifies oligonucleotides of mixed RNA and DNA composition. Using thermocycling and a novel DNA template, we demonstrate a polymerase chain transcription (PCT) reaction that results in the exponential production of orders of magnitude more RNA or modified RNA than is available by conventional transcription.
S.E. Morris, A.W. Feldman, F.E. Romesberg, ACS Synth Biol (2017) Published online June 27.
We report a steady-state kinetic characterization of the rate with which the Klenow fragment of E. coli DNA polymerase I synthesizes the dNaM-dTPT3 UBP and its mispairs in a variety of sequence contexts. The data demonstrate that dNaMTP and dTPT3TP are well optimized and standardized parts for the expansion of the genetic alphabet.
R. Adhikary, Y.X. Tan, J. Liu, J. Zimmermann, M. Holcomb, C. Yvellez, P.E. Dawson, F.E. Romesberg, Biochemistry (2017) 56:2787–2793.
ACS Editors’ Choice: We introduce C-D bonds within different structural elements in the Drosophila transcription factor bicoid, a homeodomain protein with morphogenic activity. C-D absorptions are characterized in the free and DNA-bound states, as well as during thermal denaturation. Residues in the DNA recognition helix, but not other helices, exhibit multiple conformations, and overall the data are consistent with the existence of multiple stable conformations in the folded state.
D. Thirunavukarasu, T. Chen, Z. Liu, N. Hongdilokkul, F.E. Romesberg, J. Am. Chem. Soc. (Comm.) (2017) 139:2892–2895.
We report the selection and characterization of 2′-F purine aptamers that bind human neutrophil elastase (HNE) with reasonable affinity. The 2′-F substituents are found to facilitate the selection of specific interactions, and we demonstrate than only a few can optimize properties far beyond simple nuclease resistance.
A.W. Feldman, V.T. Dien, F.E. Romesberg, J. Am. Chem. Soc. (2017) 139:2464–2467.
We report the synthesis and evaluation of unnatural triphosphates with their β,γ-bridging oxygen replaced with a difluoromethylene moiety, yielding dNaMTPCF2 and dTPT3TPCF2. We find that although dNaMTPCF2 cannot support in vivo replication, likely due to poor polymerase recognition, dTPT3TPCF2 can, and moreover, its increased stability can contribute to increased UBP retention. The results demonstrate the promise of a chemical approach to SSO optimization.
Y. Zhang, B.M. Lamb, A.W. Feldman, A.X. Zhou, T. Lavergne, L. Li, F.E. Romesberg, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA (2017) 114: 1317–1322.
We describe an optimized SSO that is healthy, more autonomous than its predecessor, and able to store increased information indefinitely. The SSO constitutes a stable form of semisynthetic life and lays the foundation for efforts to impart life with new forms and functions. Read more in The Guardian, The Washington Post, TSRI News & Views, and The San Diego Union Tribune, or listen to an interview in This Way Up from Radio New Zealand.