Ubiquitylation is a complex posttranslational protein modification and deregulation of this pathway has been associated with different human disorders. Ubiquitylation comes in different flavors: Besides mono-ubiquitylation, ubiquitin chains of various topologies are formed on substrate proteins. The fate of ubiquitylated proteins is determined by the linkage-type of the attached ubiquitin chains, however, the underlying mechanism is poorly characterized. Herein, we describe a new method based on codon expansion and click-chemistry-based polymerization to generate linkage-defined ubiquitin chains that are resistant to ubiquitin-specific proteases and adopt native-like functions. The potential of these artificial chains for analyzing ubiquitin signaling is demonstrated by linkage-specific effects on cell-cycle progression.
Keywords: click chemistry; codon expansion; posttranslational modification; ubiquitin chains; unnatural amino acids.
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