Unnatural amino acids as probes of protein structure and function

Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2000 Dec;4(6):645-52. doi: 10.1016/s1367-5931(00)00148-4.


Nonsense suppression methodology, for incorporating unnatural amino acids into proteins, has enabled a wide range of studies into protein structure and function using both in vitro and in vivo translation systems. Although methodological challenges remain, scores of unnatural amino acids have been employed that include both subtle and dramatic variants of the natural set. A number of insights that would not have been possible using conventional site-directed mutagenesis have been gained.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids* / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Biophysics
  • Humans
  • Molecular Probes* / chemistry
  • Protein Conformation*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Amino Acids
  • Molecular Probes