Cellular and Biophysical Applications of Genetic Code Expansion

Chem Rev. 2024 Jun 12;124(11):7465-7530. doi: 10.1021/acs.chemrev.4c00112. Epub 2024 May 16.


Despite their diverse functions, proteins are inherently constructed from a limited set of building blocks. These compositional constraints pose significant challenges to protein research and its practical applications. Strategically manipulating the cellular protein synthesis system to incorporate novel building blocks has emerged as a critical approach for overcoming these constraints in protein research and application. In the past two decades, the field of genetic code expansion (GCE) has achieved significant advancements, enabling the integration of numerous novel functionalities into proteins across a variety of organisms. This technological evolution has paved the way for the extensive application of genetic code expansion across multiple domains, including protein imaging, the introduction of probes for protein research, analysis of protein-protein interactions, spatiotemporal control of protein function, exploration of proteome changes induced by external stimuli, and the synthesis of proteins endowed with novel functions. In this comprehensive Review, we aim to provide an overview of cellular and biophysical applications that have employed GCE technology over the past two decades.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Genetic Code*
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Protein Engineering / methods
  • Proteins* / chemistry
  • Proteins* / genetics
  • Proteins* / metabolism


  • Proteins