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Chalcogen-analogs of amino acids. Their use in X-ray crystallographic and folding studies of peptides and proteins
Citation key 004.1997.besse
Author Besse, D. and Budisa, N. and Karnbock, W.and Minks, C. and Musiol, H. J. and Pergoraro, S. and Siedler, F. and Weyher, E. and Moroder, L.
Pages 211-218
Year 1997
DOI 10.1515/bchm.1997.378.3-4.211
Volume 378
Number 3-4
Abstract Using methionine-auxotrophic Escherichia coli strains quantitative biosynthetic replacement of the methionine residues by seleno- and telluromethionine but not by methoxinine was achieved in various model proteins, clearly indicating a limited tolerance in the editing range of methionyl-tRNA synthetase. For expression of the protein variants the acetyl derivatives of the chalcogen-analogs of methionine, obtained by a new and highly efficient synthetic procedure, proved to be the ideal source in the growth media as they were found to be significantly more stable than the underivatized methionine analogs. The conformational properties in solution, the folding and unfolding parameters as well as X-ray crystallographic data confirmed the highly isomorphous character of the atomic mutants and thus the usefulness of this concept in X-ray analysis of proteins. Quantitative replacement of cysteine residues by selenocysteine has recently been achieved using cysteine-auxotrophic E. coli strains, but a selective replacement of cysteine residues by employing the natural translational machinery of selenocysteine is also conceivable. We have therefore performed a detailed study on synthetic selenocysteine-peptides in order to determine the redox potential of this cysteine analog, and thus the ability of related peptide and protein analogs to undergo the correct oxidative folding. Since the redox potential of selenocysteine was found to be significantly more reducing than that of the parent amino acid, selective formation of a diselenide bridge in presence of additional cysteine residues is highly favored as well documented in the case of the synthetic bis-selenocysteine-endothelin I analog. These results confirm that even cysteine residues may represent an interesting target for the design and expression of isomorphous heteroatomic analogs of proteins.
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