Designer proteins: applications of genetic code expansion in cell biology

Lloyd Davis, Jason W Chin

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review


Designer amino acids, beyond the canonical 20 that are normally used by cells, can now be site-specifically encoded into proteins in cells and organisms. This is achieved using 'orthogonal' aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase-tRNA pairs that direct amino acid incorporation in response to an amber stop codon (UAG) placed in a gene of interest. Using this approach, it is now possible to study biology in vitro and in vivo with an increased level of molecular precision. This has allowed new biological insights into protein conformational changes, protein interactions, elementary processes in signal transduction and the role of post-translational modifications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-82
Number of pages15
JournalNature reviews Molecular cell biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • Animals
  • Genetic Code
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Engineering
  • Protein Interaction Mapping
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Signal Transduction


Dive into the research topics of 'Designer proteins: applications of genetic code expansion in cell biology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this