Cell-selective labelling of proteomes in Drosophila melanogaster

Nat Commun. 2015 Jul 3;6:7521. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8521.


The specification and adaptability of cells rely on changes in protein composition. Nonetheless, uncovering proteome dynamics with cell-type-specific resolution remains challenging. Here we introduce a strategy for cell-specific analysis of newly synthesized proteomes by combining targeted expression of a mutated methionyl-tRNA synthetase (MetRS) with bioorthogonal or fluorescent non-canonical amino-acid-tagging techniques (BONCAT or FUNCAT). Substituting leucine by glycine within the MetRS-binding pocket (MetRS(LtoG)) enables incorporation of the non-canonical amino acid azidonorleucine (ANL) instead of methionine during translation. Newly synthesized proteins can thus be labelled by coupling the azide group of ANL to alkyne-bearing tags through 'click chemistry'. To test these methods for applicability in vivo, we expressed MetRS(LtoG) cell specifically in Drosophila. FUNCAT and BONCAT reveal ANL incorporation into proteins selectively in cells expressing the mutated enzyme. Cell-type-specific FUNCAT and BONCAT, thus, constitute eligible techniques to study protein synthesis-dependent processes in complex and behaving organisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkynes
  • Amino Acids / chemistry
  • Amino Acids / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Click Chemistry
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Glycine / metabolism
  • Methionine / metabolism
  • Methionine-tRNA Ligase / genetics*
  • Mutation
  • Proteome / metabolism*
  • Staining and Labeling / methods*


  • Alkynes
  • Amino Acids
  • Proteome
  • Methionine
  • Methionine-tRNA Ligase
  • Glycine