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Synthetic alienation of microbial organisms by using
genetic code engineering: why and how?
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||Kubyshkin, V. and Budisa, N.
||Biotechnol. J. [highlighted by cover page]
goal of synthetic biology (SB) is the creation of biodiversity
applicable for biotechnological needs, while xenobiology (XB) aims to
expand the framework of natural chemistries with the non-natural
building blocks in living cells to accomplish artificial biodiversity.
Protein and proteome engineering, which overcome limitation of the
canonical amino acid repertoire of 20 (+2) prescribed by the genetic
code by using non-canonic amino acids (ncAAs), is one of the main
focuses of XB research. Ideally, estranging the genetic code from its
current form via systematic introduction of ncAAs should enable the
development of bio-containment mechanisms in synthetic cells
potentially endowing them with a “genetic firewall” i.e.
orthogonality which prevents genetic information transfer to natural
systems. Despite rapid progress over the past two decades, it is not
yet possible to completely alienate an organism that would use and
maintain different genetic code associations permanently. In order to
engineer robust bio-contained life forms, the chemical logic behind
the amino acid repertoire establishment should be considered. Starting
from recent proposal of Hartman and Smith about the genetic code
establishment in the RNA world, here the authors mapped possible
biotechnological invasion points for engineering of bio-contained
synthetic cells equipped with non-canonical functionalities.