Adding new chemistries to the genetic code

Annu Rev Biochem. 2010;79:413-44. doi: 10.1146/annurev.biochem.052308.105824.


The development of new orthogonal aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase/tRNA pairs has led to the addition of approximately 70 unnatural amino acids (UAAs) to the genetic codes of Escherichia coli, yeast, and mammalian cells. These UAAs represent a wide range of structures and functions not found in the canonical 20 amino acids and thus provide new opportunities to generate proteins with enhanced or novel properties and probes of protein structure and function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / chemistry*
  • Amino Acyl-tRNA Synthetases / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Escherichia coli / chemistry
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Genetic Code*
  • Protein Engineering*
  • RNA, Transfer / chemistry
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / chemistry
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism


  • Amino Acids
  • RNA, Transfer
  • Amino Acyl-tRNA Synthetases