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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The development of reconstituted translation system for peptidomimetic mRNA display synthesis Stojanovic, Vesna


The generation of high affinity, selective, and in vivo-stable peptide-based drugs is currently a major challenge in the field of drug development. Technologies exist that permit the generation of a vast diversity of chemical and conformational space and an example of such a technology is mRNA display, which utilizes protein translation machinery to produce a wide array of polypeptides starting from a combinatorial library of mRNA templates. The intention of this research was to bridge mRNA display to a reconstituted translation system using protein synthesis using recombinant elements (PURE) system for a new drug discovery platform. We hypothesized that it is possible to generate mRNA-peptidomimetic fusions using reconstituted translation system and chemo-enzymatically charged tRNAs, to incorporate unnatural amino acids into mRNA-peptidomimetic fusions. Upon demonstating that the reconstituted system was functional, we have synthesized hexapeptide fusion products containing four alanine residues and one biocytin residue. Fusions were assayed using urea-PAGE in the presence of streptavidin which allowed for unambiguous evaluation of the full length fusion fraction. It was determined that overall more fusion product was generated with template that codes for biocytin early in the coding sequence, but that the percent of biocytin-containing product stays similar regardless of the biocytin place in the coding region. We have also found that the change in template untranslated region length does not improve incorporation of biocytin in dipeptide fusions within the tested range. Finally, after first unsuccessful attempts to make sarcosine hexapeptide fusions, we investigated the effect of magnesium ion concentration on the translation reaction. As a result of four series of experiments performed involving both alanine and sarcosine fusion synthesis in parallel, we concluded that an increase in magnesium concentration from 5 mM to 20 mM coincided with enabling of the reconstituted system in making hexapeptide fusions with sarcosine in a significantly high number of cases. This research work arises from the need to enable a new drug discovery tool that will allow both synthesis and affinity maturation of peptide-based compounds. It represents our pioneering efforts to develop a new technology and ultimately help bring to existence compounds of significant therapeutic value.

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