Methods to evolve synthetic, rather than biological, polymers could significantly expand the functional potential of polymers that emerge from in vitro evolution. Requirements for synthetic polymer evolution include (i) sequence-specific polymerization of synthetic building blocks on an amplifiable template, (ii) display of the newly translated polymer strand in a manner that allows it to adopt folded structures, (iii) selection of synthetic polymer libraries for desired binding or catalytic properties and (iv) amplification of template sequences that survive selection in a manner that allows subsequent translation. Here we report the development of such a system for peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) using a set of 12 PNA pentamer building blocks. We validated the system by performing six iterated cycles of translation, selection and amplification on a library of 4.3 ×- 108 PNA-encoding DNA templates and observed > 1,000,000-fold overall enrichment of a template encoding a biotinylated (streptavidin-binding) PNA. These results collectively provide an experimental foundation for PNA evolution in the aboratory.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology