Inducible Genetic Code Expansion in Eukaryotes.
Genetic code expansion (GCE) is a versatile tool to site-specifically incorporate a noncanonical amino acid (ncAA) into a protein, for example, to perform fluorescent labeling inside living cells. To this end, an orthogonal aminoacyl-tRNA-synthetase/tRNA (RS/tRNA) pair is used to insert the ncAA in response to an amber stop codon in the protein of interest. One of the drawbacks of this system is that, in order to achieve maximum efficiency, high levels of the orthogonal tRNA are required, and this could interfere with host cell functionality. To minimize the adverse effects on the host, we have developed an inducible GCE system that enables us to switch on tRNA or RS expression when needed. In particular, we tested different promotors in the context of the T-REx or Tet-On systems to control expression of the desired orthogonal tRNA and/or RS. We discuss our result with respect to the control of GCE components as well as efficiency. We found that only the T-REx system enables simultaneous control of tRNA and RS expression.