An in vitro translation, selection and amplification system for peptide nucleic acids

Yevgeny Brudno, Michael E. Birnbaum, Ralph E. Kleiner, David R. Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-155
Number of pages8
JournalNature Chemical Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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