The ability to direct functional proteins to specific DNA sequences is a long-sought goal in the study and engineering of biological processes. Transcription activator–like effectors (TALEs) from Xanthomonas sp. are site-specific DNA-binding proteins that can be readily designed to target new sequences. Because TALEs contain a large number of repeat domains, it can be difficult to synthesize new variants. Here we describe a method that overcomes this problem. We leverage codon degeneracy and type IIs restriction enzymes to generate orthogonal ligation linkers between individual repeat monomers, thus allowing full-length, customized, repeat domains to be constructed by hierarchical ligation. We synthesized 17 TALEs that are customized to recognize specific DNA-binding sites, and demonstrate that they can specifically modulate transcription of endogenous genes (SOX2 and KLF4) in human cells.
At a glance
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- Supplementary Text and Figures (808K)
Supplementary Tables 1–3, Supplementary Figs. 1–3, Supplementary Methods and Supplementary Sequences