Synthesis and Site-Specific Incorporation of Red-Shifted Azobenzene Amino Acids into Proteins.
ABSTRACT: A series of red-shifted azobenzene amino acids were synthesized in moderate-to-excellent yields via a two-step procedure in which tyrosine derivatives were first oxidized to the corresponding quinonoidal spirolactones followed by ceric ammonium nitrate-catalyzed azo formation with the substituted phenylhydrazines. The resulting azobenzene-alanine derivatives exhibited efficient trans/cis photoswitching upon irradiation with a blue (448 nm) or green (530 nm) LED light. Moreover, nine superfolder green fluorescent protein (sfGFP) mutants carrying the azobenzene-alanine analogues were expressed in E. coli in good yields via amber codon suppression with an orthogonal tRNA/PylRS pair, and one of the mutants showed durable photoswitching with the LED light.
Project description:Genetic encoding of noncanonical amino acids (ncAAs) into proteins is a powerful approach to study protein functions. Pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetase (PylRS), a polyspecific aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase in wide use, has facilitated incorporation of a large number of different ncAAs into proteins to date. To make this process more efficient, we rationally evolved tRNA(Pyl) to create tRNA(Pyl-opt) with six nucleotide changes. This improved tRNA was tested as substrate for wild-type PylRS as well as three characterized PylRS variants (N(?)-acetyllysyl-tRNA synthetase [AcKRS], 3-iodo-phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase [IFRS], a broad specific PylRS variant [PylRS-AA]) to incorporate ncAAs at UAG codons in super-folder green fluorescence protein (sfGFP). tRNA(Pyl-opt) facilitated a 5-fold increase in AcK incorporation into two positions of sfGFP simultaneously. In addition, AcK incorporation into two target proteins (Escherichia coli malate dehydrogenase and human histone H3) caused homogenous acetylation at multiple lysine residues in high yield. Using tRNA(Pyl-opt) with PylRS and various PylRS variants facilitated efficient incorporation of six other ncAAs into sfGFP. Kinetic analyses revealed that the mutations in tRNA(Pyl-opt) had no significant effect on the catalytic efficiency and substrate binding of PylRS enzymes. Thus tRNA(Pyl-opt) should be an excellent replacement of wild-type tRNA(Pyl) for future ncAA incorporation by PylRS enzymes.
Project description:Aminoazobenzene derivatives with four ortho substituents with respect to the N-N double bond are a relatively unexplored class of azo compounds that show promise for use as photoswitches in biology. Tetra-ortho-methoxy-substituted aminoazobenzene compounds in particular can form azonium ions under physiological conditions and exhibit red-light photoswitching. Here, we report the synthesis and characterization of two bis(4-amino-2-bromo-6-methoxy)azobenzene derivatives. These compounds form red-light-absorbing azonium ions, but only under very acidic conditions (pH < 1). While the low pK a makes the azonium form unsuitable, the neutral versions of these compounds undergo trans-to-cis photoisomerization with blue-green light and exhibit slow (?1/2 ? 10 min) thermal reversion and so may find applications under physiological conditions.
Project description:Light-induced transitions between the trans and cis isomer of triazatriangulenium-based azobenzene derivatives on Au(111) surfaces were observed directly by scanning tunneling microscopy, allowing atomic-scale studies of the photoisomerization kinetics. Although the azobenzene units in these adlayers are free-standing and spaced at uniform distances of 1.26?nm, their photoswitching depends on the isomeric state of the surrounding molecules and, specifically, is accelerated by neighboring cis isomers. These collective effects are supported by ab?initio calculations indicating that the electronic excitation preferably localizes on the n-?* state of trans isomers with neighboring cis azobenzenes.
Project description:The Methanosarcina mazei pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetase (PylRS)?tRNAPyl pair can be used to incorporate non-canonical amino acids (ncAAs) into proteins at installed amber stop codons. Although engineering of the PylRS active site generates diverse binding pockets, the substrate ranges are found similar in charging lysine and phenylalanine analogs. To expand the diversity of the ncAA side chains that can be incorporated via the PylRS?tRNAPyl pair, exploring remote interactions beyond the active site is an emerging approach in expanding the genetic code research. In this work, remote interactions between tRNAPyl, the tRNA binding domain of PylRS, and/or an introduced non-structured linker between the N- and C-terminus of PylRS were studied. The substrate range of the PylRS?tRNAPyl pair was visualized by producing sfGFP-UAG gene products, which also indicated amber suppression efficiencies and substrate specificity. The unstructured loop linking the N-terminal and C-terminal domains (CTDs) of PylRS has been suggested to regulate the interaction between PylRS and tRNAPyl. In exploring the detailed role of the loop region, different lengths of the linker were inserted into the junction between the N-terminal and the C-terminal domains of PylRS to unearth the impact on remote effects. Our findings suggest that the insertion of a moderate-length linker tunes the interface between PylRS and tRNAPyl and subsequently leads to improved suppression efficiencies. The suppression activity and the substrate specificity of PylRS were altered by introducing three mutations at or near the N-terminal domain of PylRS (N-PylRS). Using a N-PylRS?tRNAPyl pair, three ncAA substrates, two S-benzyl cysteine and a histidine analog, were incorporated into the protein site specifically.
Project description:Self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) decorated with photoisomerizable azobenzene glycosides are useful tools for investigating the effect of ligand orientation on carbohydrate recognition. However, photoswitching of SAMs between two specific states is characterized by a limited capacity. The goal of this study is the improvement of photoswitchable azobenzene glyco-SAMs. Different concepts, in particular self-dilution and rigid biaryl backbones, have been investigated. The required SH-functionalized azobenzene glycoconjugates were synthesized through a modular approach, and the respective glyco-SAMs were fabricated on Au(111). Their photoswitching properties have been extensively investigated by applying a powerful set of methods (IRRAS, XPS, and NEXAFS). Indeed, the combination of tailor-made biaryl-azobenzene glycosides and suitable diluent molecules led to photoswitchable glyco-SAMs with a significantly enhanced and unprecedented switching capacity.
Project description:Genetic code reprogramming allows proteins to sample new chemistry through the defined and targeted introduction of non-natural amino acids (nAAs). Many useful nAAs are derivatives of the natural aromatic amino acid tyrosine, with the para OH group replaced with useful but often bulkier substituents. Extending residue sampling by directed evolution identified positions in Green Fluorescent Protein tolerant to aromatic nAAs, including identification of novel sites that modulate fluorescence. Replacement of the buried L44 residue by photosensitive p-azidophenylalanine (azF) conferred environmentally sensitive photoswitching. In silico modelling of the L44azF dark state provided an insight into the mechanism of action through modulation of the hydrogen bonding network surrounding the chromophore. Targeted mutagenesis of T203 with aromatic nAAs to introduce π-stacking with the chromophore successfully generated red shifted versions of GFP. Incorporation of azF at residue 203 conferred high photosensitivity on sfGFP with even ambient light mediating a functional switch. Thus, engineering proteins with non-natural aromatic amino acids by surveying a wide residue set can introduce new and beneficial properties into a protein through the sampling of non-intuitive mutations. Coupled with retrospective in silico modelling, this will facilitate both our understanding of the impact of nAAs on protein structure and function, and future design endeavours.
Project description:In the vast majority of studies on semiconductor particles ligands or capping agents are used that bind to the surface of the particles covering them with an electrically insulating shell. Since the transport of charge carriers and/or energy across interfaces is desirable for a variety of applications, the use of ?-conjugated ligands becomes increasingly interesting. Among them are compounds that react to external stimuli. Molecular switches in particular are fascinating because the properties of the interfaces can be potentially adjusted as required. However, there is debate about how the properties of such special ligands are influenced by the presence of a semiconductor and vice versa. Here ammonium-modified azobenzene compounds were selected as prototypes for molecular switches and organic-inorganic hybrid perovskites as semiconductor materials. The class of ammonium-lead-halide phases as prototypes is peculiar because, in addition to the surface functionalization of 3D crystals, organic compounds can actually be incorporated into the crystal as 2D phases. Thus, for example, layered Ruddlesden-Popper phases are obtained. We present photoswitchable azobenzene ligands with different head-group lengths for the synthesis of 2D and 3D hybrid perovskite phases. The energy transfer mechanisms are influenced by the length of the molecular spacer moiety, which determines the distance between the ? system and the semiconductor surfaces. We find huge differences in the photoswitching behaviour between the free, surface-coordinated and integrated ligands between the perovskite layers. Photoswitching of azobenzene ligands incorporated in 2D phases is nearly quenched, while the same mechanism for surface-coordinating ligands is greatly improved, compared to the free ligands. The improvement originates from an energy transfer from perovskite to azobenzene, which is strongly distance-dependent. This study provides evidence for the photoswitching of azobenzenes as ligands of hybrid perovskites, which depends on the spacing between the chromophore and the perovskite phase.
Project description:The photophysical and photochemical properties of sulfoxide and sulfone derivatives of hemithioindigo photoswitches are scrutinized and compared to the unoxidized parent chromophores. Oxidation results in significantly blue-shifted absorptions and mostly reduction of photochromism while thermal stabilities of individual isomers remain largely unaltered. Effective photoswitching takes place at shorter wavelengths compared to parent hemithioindigos and high isomeric yields can be obtained reversibly in the respective photostationary states. Reversible solid-state photoswitching is observed for a twisted sulfone derivative accompanied by visible color changes. These results establish oxidized hemithioindigo photoswitches as promising and versatile tools for robust light-control of molecular behavior for a wide range of applications.
Project description:Photoswitching and fluorescent properties of sulfone derivatives of 1,2-bis(2-alkyl-4-methyl-5-phenyl-3-thienyl)perfluorocyclopentene, 1-5, having methyl, ethyl, n-propyl, i-propyl, and i-butyl substituents at the reactive carbons (2- and 2'-positions) of the thiophene 1,1-dioxide rings were studied. Diarylethenes 1-5 underwent isomerization reactions between open-ring and closed-ring forms upon alternate irradiation with ultraviolet (UV) and visible light and showed fluorescence in the closed-ring forms. The alkyl substitution at the reactive carbons affects the fluorescent property of the closed-ring isomers. The closed-ring isomers 2b-5b with ethyl, n-propyl, i-propyl, and i-butyl substituents show higher fluorescence quantum yields than 1b with methyl substituents. In polar solvents, the fluorescence quantum yield of 1b markedly decreases, while 2b-5b maintain the relatively high fluorescence quantum yields. Although the cycloreversion quantum yields of the derivatives with methyl, ethyl, n-propyl, and i-propyl substituents are quite low and in the order of 10-5, introduction of i-butyl substituents was found to increase the yield up to the order of 10-3. These results indicate that appropriate alkyl substitution at the reactive carbons is indispensable for properly controlling the photoswitching and fluorescent properties of the photoswitchable fluorescent diarylethenes, which are potentially applicable to super-resolution fluorescence microscopies.
Project description:Genetic code expansion has largely relied on two types of the tRNA-aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase pairs. One involves pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetase (PylRS), which is used to incorporate various lysine derivatives into proteins. The widely used PylRS from Methanosarcinaceae comprises two distinct domains while the bacterial molecules consist of two separate polypeptides. The recently identified PylRS from Candidatus Methanomethylophilus alvus (CMaPylRS) is a single-domain, one-polypeptide enzyme that belongs to a third category. In the present study, we showed that the PylRS-tRNAPyl pair from C. M. alvus can incorporate lysine derivatives much more efficiently (up to 14-times) than Methanosarcinaceae PylRSs in Escherichia coli cell-based and cell-free systems. Then we investigated the tRNA and amino-acid recognition by CMaPylRS. The cognate tRNAPyl has two structural idiosyncrasies: no connecting nucleotide between the acceptor and D stems and an additional nucleotide in the anticodon stem and it was found that these features are hardly recognized by CMaPylRS. Lastly, the Tyr126Ala and Met129Leu substitutions at the amino-acid binding pocket were shown to allow CMaPylRS to recognize various derivatives of the bulky N?-benzyloxycarbonyl-l-lysine (ZLys). With the high incorporation efficiency and the amenability to engineering, CMaPylRS would enhance the availability of lysine derivatives in expanded codes.