Protein semi-synthesis in living cells

Izabela Giriat, Tom W. Muir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


Incorporation of chemical probes into proteins is a powerful way to elucidate biological processes and to engineer novel function. Here we describe an approach that allows ligation of synthetic molecules to target proteins in an intracellular environment. A cellular protein is genetically tagged with one-half of a split intein. The complementary half is linked in vitro to the synthetic probe, and this fusion is delivered into cells using a transduction peptide. Association of the intein halves in the cytosol triggers protein trans-splicing, resulting in the ligation of the probe to the target protein through a peptide bond. This process is specific and applicable to cytosolic and integral membrane proteins. The technology should allow cellular proteins to be elaborated with a variety of abiotic probes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7180-7181
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number24
StatePublished - Jun 18 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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