T. Chen, N. Hongdilokkul, Z. Liu, D. Thirunavukarasu, F.E. Romesberg, Curr. Op. Chem. Biol. (2016) 34:80–87.
We 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.
T. Chen, N. Hongdilokkul, Z. Liu, R. Adhikary, S.S. Tsuen, F.E. Romesberg, Nat. Chem. (2016) 8:556-562.
We report the development of a polymerase evolution system and its use to evolve thermostable polymerases that efficiently interconvert C2′-OMe modified oligonucleotides and their DNA counterparts via “transcription” and “reverse transcription,” or more importantly, PCR amplify partially C2′-OMe or C2′-F modified oligonucleotides.
T. Lavergne, R. Lamichhane, D.A. Malyshev, Z. Li, L. Li, E. Sperling, J.R. Williamson, D.P. Millar, F.E. Romesberg, ACS Chem. Biol. (2016) 11:1347-1353.
We report the synthesis and evaluation of several unnatural ribotriphosphates bearing linkers that allow the chemoselective attachment of different functionalities. One unnatural base pair is used to dual label a 243-nt fragment of a 16S RNA with Cy3 and Cy5, which are then used to characterize conformational changes in the presence of ribosomal proteins.
R. Adhikary, J. Zimmermann, P.E. Dawson, F.E. Romesberg, Anal. Chem. (2015) 87:11561–11567.
In both model systems and the N-terminal Src homology 3 domain of Crk-II (nSH3), we show that the absorption frequency of cyano and thiocyano probes is linearly correlated with temperature and that the slope of the resulting line (frequency-temperature line slope or FTLS) reflects the nature of the probe’s microenvironment, including whether or not the probe is engaged in H-bonds.
A. Craney, M.M. Dix, R. Adhikary, B.F. Cravatt, F.E. Romesberg, mBio (2015) 6:e01178-15.
Weidentify the S. aureus operon ayrRABC and show that once released from repression by AyrR, the protein products AyrABC together confer resistance to the SPase inhibitor arylomycin M131 by providing an alternate and novel method of releasing translocated proteins, and we demonstrate that AyrABC functionally complements SPase by mediating the processing of the normally secreted proteins. Overall, the data demonstrate that ayrRABC encodes a secretion stress-inducible alternate terminal step of the general secretory pathway.
A. Craney, F.E. Romesberg, Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. (2015) 25:4761–4766.
We 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.
D.A. Malyshev, F.E. Romesberg, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. (2015) 54:11930–11944.
Natural 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.