Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 7, 775-782 (October 2006) | doi:10.1038/nrm2005

InnovationA chemical toolkit for proteins — an expanded genetic code

Jianming Xie1 & Peter G. Schultz1  About the authors


Recently, a method to encode unnatural amino acids with diverse physicochemical and biological properties genetically in bacteria, yeast and mammalian cells was developed. Over 30 unnatural amino acids have been co-translationally incorporated into proteins with high fidelity and efficiency using a unique codon and corresponding transfer-RNA:aminoacyl–tRNA-synthetase pair. This provides a powerful tool for exploring protein structure and function in vitro and in vivo, and for generating proteins with new or enhanced properties.

Author affiliations

  1. Jianming Xie and Peter G. Schultz are at the Department of Chemistry and Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, the Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.

Correspondence to: Peter G. Schultz1 Email:

Published online 23 August 2006


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