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Protein Labeling via a Specific Lysine-Isopeptide Bond Using the Pilin Polymerizing Sortase from Corynebacterium diphtheriae


Proteins that are site-specifically modified with peptides and chemicals can be used as novel therapeutics, imaging tools, diagnostic reagents and materials. However, there are few enzyme-catalyzed methods currently available to selectively conjugate peptides to internal sites within proteins. Here we show that a pilus-specific sortase enzyme from Corynebacterium diphtheriae (CdSrtA) can be used to attach a peptide to a protein via a specific lysine-isopeptide bond. Using rational mutagenesis we created CdSrtA3M, a highly activated cysteine transpeptidase that catalyzes in vitro isopeptide bond formation. CdSrtA3M mediates bioconjugation to a specific lysine residue within a fused domain derived from the corynebacterial SpaA protein. Peptide modification yields greater than >95% can be achieved. We demonstrate that CdSrtA3M can be used in concert with the Staphylococcus aureus SrtA enzyme, enabling dual, orthogonal protein labeling via lysine-isopeptide and backbone-peptide bonds.

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