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Light-control of the ultra-fast Gp41-1 split intein with preserved stability of a genetically encoded photo-caged amino acid in bacterial cells

Böcker, Jana K., Dörner, Wolfgang, Mootz, Henning D.
Chemical communications 2019 v.55 no.9 pp. 1287-1290
Escherichia coli K12, bacteria, bacterial proteins, chemical reactions, irradiation, nitro compounds, phenylalanine, protein synthesis, trans-splicing, ultraviolet radiation
Inteins change the structure and function of their host protein in a unique way and the Gp41-1 split intein is the fastest protein trans-splicing intein known to date. To design a photo-activatable variant, we have incorporated ortho-nitrobenzyl-tyrosine (ONBY) at the position of a structurally conserved phenylalanine in the Gp41-1-N fragment. Using irradiation at 365 nm, the splicing reaction was triggered with virtually unchanged rates. The partial cellular reduction of the nitro group in ONBY, previously observed during bacterial protein expression for several photo-caged amino acids, was overcome by periplasmatic expression and by using an E. coli K12(DE3) strain instead of BL21(DE3). Together, our findings provide new tools for the artificial photo-control of proteins.