3 years ago

A Versatile Toolbox for the Control of Protein Levels Using Nε-Acetyl-l-lysine Dependent Amber Suppression

A Versatile Toolbox for the Control of Protein Levels Using Nε-Acetyl-l-lysine Dependent Amber Suppression
Kirsten Jung, Ralph Krafczyk, Wolfram Volkwein, Jürgen Lassak, Christopher Maier
The analysis of the function of essential genes in vivo depends on the ability to experimentally modulate levels of their protein products. Current methods to address this are based on transcriptional or post-transcriptional regulation of mRNAs, but approaches based on the exploitation of translation regulation have so far been neglected. Here we describe a toolbox, based on amber suppression in the presence of Nε-acetyl-l-lysine (AcK), for translational tuning of protein output. We chose the highly sensitive luminescence system LuxCDABE as a reporter and incorporated a UAG stop codon into the gene for the reductase subunit LuxC. The system was used to measure and compare the effects of AcK- and Nε-(tert-butoxycarbonyl)-l-lysine (BocK) dependent amber suppression in Escherichia coli. We also demonstrate here that, in combination with transcriptional regulation, the system allows protein production to be either totally repressed or gradually adjusted. To identify sequence motifs that provide improved translational regulation, we varied the sequence context of the amber codon and found that insertion of two preceding prolines drastically decreases luminescence. In addition, using LacZ as a reporter, we demonstrated that a strain encoding a variant with a Pro-Pro amber motif can only grow on lactose when AcK is supplied, thus confirming the tight translational regulation of protein output. In parallel, we constructed an E. coli strain that carries an isopropyl β-d-1-thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG)-inducible version of the AcK-tRNA synthetase (AcKRS) gene on the chromosome, thus preventing mischarging of noncognate substrates. Subsequently, a diaminopimelic acid auxotrophic mutant (ΔdapA) was generated demonstrating the potential of this strain in regulating essential gene products. Furthermore, we assembled a set of vectors based on the broad-host-range pBBR ori that enable the AcK-dependent amber suppression system to control protein output not only in E. coli, but also in Salmonella enterica and Vibrio cholerae.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acssynbio.7b00048

DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.7b00048

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