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Hyperaccurate Ribosomes for Improved Genetic Code Reprogramming

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journal contribution
posted on 12.05.2022, 17:16 authored by Bipasana Shakya, Olivia G. Joyner, Matthew C. T. Hartman
The reprogramming of the genetic code through the introduction of noncanonical amino acids (ncAAs) has enabled exciting advances in synthetic biology and peptide drug discovery. Ribosomes that function with high efficiency and fidelity are necessary for all of these efforts, but for challenging ncAAs, the competing processes of near-cognate readthrough and peptidyl-tRNA dropoff can be issues. Here we uncover the surprising extent of these competing pathways in the PURE translation system using mRNAs encoding peptides with affinity tags at the N- and C-termini. We also show that hyperaccurate or error restrictive ribosomes with mutations in ribosomal protein S12 lead to significant improvements in yield and fidelity in the context of both canonical AAs and a challenging α,α-disubstituted ncAA. Hyperaccurate ribosomes also improve yields for quadruplet codon readthrough for a tRNA containing an expanded anticodon stem-loop, although they are not able to eliminate triplet codon reading by this tRNA. The impressive improvements in fidelity and the simplicity of introducing this mutation alongside other efforts to engineer the translation apparatus make hyperaccurate ribosomes an important advance for synthetic biology.