Context effects of genetic code expansion by stop codon suppression

Yonatan Chemla, Eden Ozer, Itay Algov, Lital Alfonta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Genetic code expansion enables the incorporation of unnatural amino acids into proteins thereby augmenting their physical and chemical properties. This is achieved by the reassignment of codons from their original sense to incorporate unnatural amino acids. The most commonly used methodology is stop codon suppression, which has resulted in numerous successful studies and applications in recent years. In these studies, many observations have been accumulated indicating that stop codon suppression efficiency depends on various cellular, operon and mRNA context effects. Predominant among these are mRNA context effects: the location of the stop codon along the mRNA governs, to a large extent, the efficiency and ability to successfully incorporate unnatural amino acids. Albeit their prevalence and importance, the mechanisms that govern context effects remain largely unknown. Herein, we will review what is known and yet to be understood with the intent to advance the propagation of genetic code expansion technology and to stimulate systematic research and debate of this open question.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-155
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Opinion in Chemical Biology
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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