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Transparent window vibrational probes for the characterization of proteins with high structural and temporal resolution

R. Adhikary, J. Zimmermann, F.E. Romesberg, Chem. Rev. (2017) 117:1927–1969.
pubpic2017adhikaryWe review the strengths and weaknesses of the different transparent window vibrational probes, methods by which they may be site-specifically incorporated into peptides and proteins, and the physicochemical properties they may be used to study. These topics are put into context through four case studies focused on KSI, SH3, DHFR, and cyt c.

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The expanding world of DNA and RNA

T. Chen, N. Hongdilokkul, Z. Liu, D. Thirunavukarasu, F.E. Romesberg, Curr. Op. Chem. Biol. (2016) 34:80–87.
pubpic2016bchenWe review nucleotide modifications, such as those to phosphate and sugar moieties that increase nuclease resistance or the range of activities possible, as well as whole nucleobase replacement that results in selective pairing and the creation of unnatural base pairs. Both in vitro and in vivo examples are discussed, including efforts to create semi-synthetic organisms with altered or expanded genetic alphabets.

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The inhibition of type I bacterial signal peptidase: Biological consequences and therapeutic potential

A. Craney, F.E. Romesberg, Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. (2015) 25:4761–4766.
pubpic2015xxWe review the information gained from the use of SPase inhibitors as probes of prokaryote biology. A thorough understanding of the consequences of SPase inhibition and the mechanisms of resistance that arise are essential to the success of SPase as an antibiotic target. In addition to the role of SPase in processing secreted proteins, the use of SPase inhibitors has elucidated a previously unknown function for SPase in regulating cleavage events of membrane proteins.

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An expanded genetic alphabet

D.A. Malyshev, F.E. Romesberg, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. (2015) 54:11930–11944.
pubpic2015malyshevNatural nucleic acids and the genetic information they encode are limited by the use of only four nucleotides that form two base pairs, (d)G-(d)C and d(A)-dT/U. In the past decade, three classes of unnatural base pairs have been developed to a high level of proof-of-concept. This review summarizes their development and the potentially revolutionary applications that they are now enabling.