Jump to Main Content
Genetic alphabet expansion biotechnology by creating unnatural base pairs
- Lee, Kyung Hyun, Hamashima, Kiyofumi, Kimoto, Michiko, Hirao, Ichiro
- Current opinion in biotechnology 2018 v.51 pp. 8-15
- DNA, biotechnology, nucleotide aptamers, physicochemical properties, proteins, translation (genetics)
- Recent studies have made it possible to expand the genetic alphabet of DNA, which is originally composed of the four-letter alphabet with A–T and G–C pairs, by introducing an unnatural base pair (UBP). Several types of UBPs function as a third base pair in replication, transcription, and/or translation. Through the UBP formation, new components with different physicochemical properties from those of the natural ones can be introduced into nucleic acids and proteins site-specifically, providing their increased functionalities. Here, we describe the genetic alphabet expansion technology by focusing on three types of UBPs, which were recently applied to the creations of DNA aptamers that bind to proteins and cells and semi-synthetic organisms containing DNAs with a six-letter alphabet.