Expanding the Substrate Tolerance of Biotin Ligase through Exploration of Enzymes from Diverse Species
Technologies that enable the site-specific conjugation of chemical probes onto proteins are extremely useful for applications in cell biology and proteomics. We cloned, expressed, and purified biotin ligases from nine different species and screened them for the ability to ligate unnatural analogues of biotin onto the human p67 biotin acceptor domain. We discovered that the biotin ligases of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast) and Pyrococcus horikoshii could accept alkyne and azide derivatives of biotin, respectively. HPLC, gel-shift, and mass spectrometry assays confirmed that these ligation reactions were ATP-and enzyme-dependent, as well as site-specific. We used the P. horikoshii-catalyzed azide ligation reaction to site-specifically introduce a phosphine probe onto p67 using the Staudinger ligation. These new ligation reactions demonstrate the differential substrate specificities of biotin ligases from different organisms and open the door to novel protein labeling applications.