Engineered ribosomes with tethered subunits for expanding biological function

Erik D. Carlson, Anne E. d’Aquino, Do Soon Kim, Emily M. Fulk, Kim Hoang, Teresa Szal, Alexander S. Mankin, Michael C. Jewett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Ribo-T is a ribosome with covalently tethered subunits where core 16S and 23S ribosomal RNAs form a single chimeric molecule. Ribo-T makes possible a functionally orthogonal ribosome–mRNA system in cells. Unfortunately, use of Ribo-T has been limited because of low activity of its original version. Here, to overcome this limitation, we use an evolutionary approach to select new tether designs that are capable of supporting faster cell growth and increased protein expression. Further, we evolve new orthogonal Ribo-T/mRNA pairs that function in parallel with, but independent of, natural ribosomes and mRNAs, increasing the efficiency of orthogonal protein expression. The Ribo-T with optimized designs is able to synthesize a diverse set of proteins, and can also incorporate multiple non-canonical amino acids into synthesized polypeptides. The enhanced Ribo-T designs should be useful for exploring poorly understood functions of the ribosome and engineering ribosomes with altered catalytic properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3920
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Engineered ribosomes with tethered subunits for expanding biological function'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this