Susan E Cellitti

Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, San Diego, California, United States

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Publications (8)73.31 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Tuberculosis continues to be a global health threat, making bicyclic nitroimidazoles an important new class of therapeutics. A deazaflavin-dependent nitroreductase (Ddn) from Mycobacterium tuberculosis catalyzes the reduction of nitroimidazoles such as PA-824, resulting in intracellular release of lethal reactive nitrogen species. The N-terminal 30 residues of Ddn are functionally important but are flexible or access multiple conformations, preventing structural characterization of the full-length, enzymatically active enzyme. Several structures were determined of a truncated, inactive Ddn protein core with and without bound F(420) deazaflavin coenzyme as well as of a catalytically competent homolog from Nocardia farcinica. Mutagenesis studies based on these structures identified residues important for binding of F(420) and PA-824. The proposed orientation of the tail of PA-824 toward the N terminus of Ddn is consistent with current structure-activity relationship data.
    Structure 01/2012; 20(1):101-12. · 5.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pyrroline-carboxy-lysine (Pcl) is a demethylated form of pyrrolysine that is generated by the pyrrolysine biosynthetic enzymes when the growth media is supplemented with D-ornithine. Pcl is readily incorporated by the unmodified pyrrolysyl-tRNA/tRNA synthetase pair into proteins expressed in Escherichia coli and in mammalian cells. Here, we describe a broadly applicable conjugation chemistry that is specific for Pcl and orthogonal to all other reactive groups on proteins. The reaction of Pcl with 2-amino-benzaldehyde or 2-amino-acetophenone reagents proceeds to near completion at neutral pH with high efficiency. We illustrate the versatility of the chemistry by conjugating Pcl proteins with poly(ethylene glycol)s, peptides, oligosaccharides, oligonucleotides, fluorescence, and biotin labels and other small molecules. Because Pcl is genetically encoded by TAG codons, this conjugation chemistry enables enhancements of the pharmacology and functionality of proteins through site-specific conjugation.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2011; 108(26):10437-42. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: D-ornithine has previously been suggested to enhance the expression of pyrrolysine-containing proteins. We unexpectedly discovered that uptake of D-ornithine results in the insertion of a new amino acid, pyrroline-carboxy-lysine (Pcl) instead of the anticipated pyrrolysine (Pyl). Our feeding and biochemical studies point to specific roles of the poorly understood Pyl biosynthetic enzymes PylC and PylD in converting L-lysine and D-ornithine to Pcl and confirm intermediates in the biosynthesis of Pyl.
    Nature Chemical Biology 04/2011; 7(8):528-30. · 12.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A large number of amino acids other than the canonical amino acids can now be easily incorporated in vivo into proteins at genetically encoded positions. The technology requires an orthogonal tRNA/aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase pair specific for the unnatural amino acid that is added to the media while a TAG amber or frame shift codon specifies the incorporation site in the protein to be studied. These unnatural amino acids can be isotopically labeled and provide unique opportunities for site-specific labeling of proteins for NMR studies. In this perspective, we discuss these opportunities including new photocaged unnatural amino acids, outline usage of metal chelating and spin-labeled unnatural amino acids and expand the approach to in-cell NMR experiments.
    Journal of Biomolecular NMR 09/2009; 46(1):89-100. · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: State secrets: Site-specific deuteration and FTIR studies reveal that Tyr100 in dihydrofolate reductase plays an important role in catalysis, with a strong electrostatic coupling occurring between Tyr100 and the charge that develops in the hydride-transfer transition state (see picture, NADP(+) purple, Tyr100 green). However, relaying correlated motions that facilitate catalysis from distal sites of the protein to the hydride donor may also be involved.
    Angewandte Chemie International Edition 05/2009; 48(19):3478-81. · 11.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A shuttle system has been developed to genetically encode unnatural amino acids in mammalian cells using aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) evolved in E. coli. A pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetase (PylRS) mutant was evolved in E. coli that selectively aminoacylates a cognate nonsense suppressor tRNA with a photocaged lysine derivative. Transfer of this orthogonal tRNA-aaRS pair into mammalian cells made possible the selective incorporation of this unnatural amino acid into proteins.
    Angewandte Chemie International Edition 05/2009; 48(22):4052-5. · 11.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tyrosine sulfation is an important post-translational modification that occurs in higher eukaryotes and is involved in cell-cell communication, viral entry and adhesion. We describe a protocol for the heterologous expression of selectively tyrosine-sulfated proteins in Escherichia coli through the use of an expanded genetic code that co-translationally inserts sulfotyrosine in response to the amber nonsense codon, TAG. The components required for this process, an orthogonal aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase specific for sulfotyrosine and its cognate orthogonal tRNA that recognizes the amber codon, are encoded on the plasmid pSUPAR6-L3-3SY, and their use, along with a simple chemical synthesis of sulfotyrosine, are outlined in this protocol. Specifically, the gene for a protein of interest is mutated such that the codon corresponding to the desired location of tyrosine sulfate is TAG. Co-transformation of an expression vector containing this gene and pSUPAR6-L3-3SY into an appropriate E. coli strain allows the overexpression of the site-specifically sulfated protein with high efficiency and fidelity. The resulting protein contains tyrosine sulfate at any location specified by a TAG codon, making this method significantly simpler and more versatile than competing methods such as in vitro enzymatic sulfation, chemical sulfation and peptide synthesis. Once the proper expression vectors are cloned, our protocol should allow the production of the desired sulfated proteins in <1 week.
    Nature Protocol 01/2009; 4(12):1784-9. · 8.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In vivo incorporation of isotopically labeled unnatural amino acids into large proteins drastically reduces the complexity of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra. Incorporation is accomplished by coexpressing an orthogonal tRNA/aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase pair specific for the unnatural amino acid added to the media and the protein of interest with a TAG amber codon at the desired incorporation site. To demonstrate the utility of this approach for NMR studies, 2-amino-3-(4-(trifluoromethoxy)phenyl)propanoic acid (OCF 3Phe), (13)C/(15)N-labeled p-methoxyphenylalanine (OMePhe), and (15)N-labeled o-nitrobenzyl-tyrosine (oNBTyr) were incorporated individually into 11 positions around the active site of the 33 kDa thioesterase domain of human fatty acid synthase (FAS-TE). In the process, a novel tRNA synthetase was evolved for OCF 3Phe. Incorporation efficiencies and FAS-TE yields were improved by including an inducible copy of the respective aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase gene on each incorporation plasmid. Using only between 8 and 25 mg of unnatural amino acid, typically 2 mg of FAS-TE, sufficient for one 0.1 mM NMR sample, were produced from 50 mL of Escherichia coli culture grown in rich media. Singly labeled protein samples were then used to study the binding of a tool compound. Chemical shift changes in (1)H-(15)N HSQC, (1)H-(13)C HSQC, and (19)F NMR spectra of the different single site mutants consistently identified the binding site and the effect of ligand binding on conformational exchange of some of the residues. OMePhe or OCF 3Phe mutants of an active site tyrosine inhibited binding; incorporating (15)N-Tyr at this site through UV-cleavage of the nitrobenzyl-photocage from oNBTyr re-established binding. These data suggest not only robust methods for using unnatural amino acids to study large proteins by NMR but also establish a new avenue for the site-specific labeling of proteins at individual residues without altering the protein sequence, a feat that can currently not be accomplished with any other method.
    Journal of the American Chemical Society 08/2008; 130(29):9268-81. · 10.68 Impact Factor