A flexible codon in genomically recoded Escherichia coli permits programmable protein phosphorylation

Nat Commun. 2015 Sep 9:6:8130. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9130.


Biochemical investigation of protein phosphorylation events is limited by inefficient production of the phosphorylated and non-phosphorylated forms of full-length proteins. Here using a genomically recoded strain of E. coli with a flexible UAG codon we produce site-specific serine- or phosphoserine-containing proteins, with purities approaching 90%, from a single recombinant DNA. Specifically, we synthesize human MEK1 kinase with two serines or two phosphoserines, from one DNA template, and demonstrate programmable kinase activity. Programmable protein phosphorylation is poised to help reveal the structural and functional information encoded in the phosphoproteome.

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.

MeSH terms

  • Codon, Terminator / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Genome, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • MAP Kinase Kinase 1 / biosynthesis
  • MAP Kinase Kinase 1 / genetics*
  • Organisms, Genetically Modified
  • Phosphorylation / genetics*
  • Phosphoserine
  • Serine


  • Codon, Terminator
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Phosphoserine
  • Serine
  • MAP Kinase Kinase 1
  • MAP2K1 protein, human