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Life 2017, 7(1), 10; doi:10.3390/life7010010

Future of the Genetic Code

Division of Life Science and Applied Genomics Center, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong, China
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Koji Tamura
Received: 6 January 2017 / Revised: 20 February 2017 / Accepted: 23 February 2017 / Published: 28 February 2017
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Abstract

The methods for establishing synthetic lifeforms with rewritten genetic codes comprising non-canonical amino acids (NCAA) in addition to canonical amino acids (CAA) include proteome-wide replacement of CAA, insertion through suppression of nonsense codon, and insertion via the pyrrolysine and selenocysteine pathways. Proteome-wide reassignments of nonsense codons and sense codons are also under development. These methods enable the application of NCAAs to enrich both fundamental and applied aspects of protein chemistry and biology. Sense codon reassignment to NCAA could incur problems arising from the usage of anticodons as identity elements on tRNA, and possible misreading of NNY codons by UNN anticodons. Evidence suggests that the problem of anticodons as identity elements can be diminished or resolved through removal from the tRNA of all identity elements besides the anticodon, and the problem of misreading of NNY codons by UNN anticodon can be resolved by the retirement of both the UNN anticodon and its complementary NNA codon from the proteome in the event that a restrictive post-transcriptional modification of the UNN anticodon by host enzymes to prevent the misreading cannot be obtained. View Full-Text
Keywords: synthetic life; non-canonical amino acid; rewritten genetic code; restrictive post-transcriptional modification; anticodon identity element synthetic life; non-canonical amino acid; rewritten genetic code; restrictive post-transcriptional modification; anticodon identity element
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Xue, H.; Wong, J.T.-F. Future of the Genetic Code. Life 2017, 7, 10.

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