Ribosome-mediated polymerization of backbone-extended monomers into polypeptides is challenging due to their poor compatibility with the translation apparatus, which evolved to use α-L-amino acids. Moreover, mechanisms to acylate (or charge) these monomers to transfer RNAs (tRNAs) to make aminoacyl-tRNA substrates is a bottleneck. Here, we rationally design non-canonical amino acid analogs with extended carbon chains (γ-, δ-, ε-, and ζ-) or cyclic structures (cyclobutane, cyclopentane, and cyclohexane) to improve tRNA charging. We then demonstrate site-specific incorporation of these non-canonical, backbone-extended monomers at the N- and C- terminus of peptides using wild-type and engineered ribosomes. This work expands the scope of ribosome-mediated polymerization, setting the stage for new medicines and materials.
- Amino Acids, Cyclic/metabolism
- Genetic Engineering
- Peptide Biosynthesis
- RNA, Transfer/metabolism
- Transfer RNA Aminoacylation