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Title: Development of spontaneous isopeptide bond formation for ligation of peptide tags
Author: Fierer, J. O.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 2786
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Peptide tags are ubiquitous in the life sciences, with roles including purification and selective labeling of proteins. Because peptide tags are small they have a limited surface area for binding and hence usually form low affinity protein interactions. These weak interactions limit the uses of peptide tags in cases that require resistance to forces generated with macromolecular architectures or protein motors. Hence a way to create a covalent interaction with a peptide tag would be useful. It was found possible to create a covalent bond-forming peptide tag using the spontaneous isopeptide chemistry of the CnaB2 domain from the Gram-positive bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes. In the CnaB2 domain a reactive Lysine forms an isopeptide bond with an Aspartic acid, catalyzed by a Glutamic acid, creating an internal covalent linkage. Subsequently it was shown that the CnaB2 domain could be split into two parts, a domain with the Lysine and Glutamic acid called SpyCatcher and a peptide with the Aspartic acid called SpyTag, such that the isopeptide covalent linkage can be formed when SpyCatcher/SpyTag are mixed together. SpyCatcher/SpyTag was applied in this thesis and showed functionality in a wide array of scenarios. SpyCatcher/SpyTag covalently linked within the cytosol of E. coli, on surface membrane proteins of HeLa cells, and regardless of whether SpyTag was located on the N- or C-terminus or an internal site. Crystal structures of SpyCatcher/SpyTag were then obtained and it was found possible to shrink the SpyCatcher by 32 residues to a core domain of 83 residues. To create an even smaller covalent linkage system, SpyCatcher was split further to generate a protein (SpyLigase) ligating two peptide tags. The β-sheet with the reactive Lysine was removed from SpyCatcher and called KTag. SpyLigase could covalently link SpyTag and KTag. SpyLigase-induced ligation was independent of the location of SpyTag/KTag on the target proteins and was applied to create affibody polymers, which were shown to improve magnetic isolation of cells with low tumor antigen expression. Through this work protein-protein covalent linkage systems were refined and generated that have future applications for the creation of unique macromolecular structures, cellular labeling, and protein cyclization.
Supervisor: Howarth, M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Life Sciences ; Biochemistry ; Molecular biophysics (biochemistry) ; Nano-biotechnology ; Blood ; Medical sciences ; Oncology ; Biosensors ; Chemical biology ; Nanomaterials ; Protein chemistry ; Protein folding ; Materials Sciences ; SpyCatcher ; SpyTag ; SpyLigase ; Split-Protein ; Protein Ligation