Scientists found a new way to create designer human proteins

An approach to interrogate phosphorylation.

(Illustration by Michael S. Helfenbein)
(Illustration by Michael S. Helfenbein)

Proteins are essential for life functions. Most human proteins are changed by a procedure called serine phosphorylation. Glitches in this procedure have been embroiled in diseases, for example, cancer and Alzheimer’s yet are hard to identify and think about.

Now, Yale scientists along with Agilent Technologies have devised a new technique that turns bacterium E. Coli into a phosphorylated protein production capacity for producing each known example of this change in human proteins.

Scientists synthesized more than 110,000 phosphoproteins from scratch. Previously, researchers were only able to create a single phosphoprotein at a time.

The new platform will enable researchers to make designer proteins by concentrating the effect of phosphorylation on all potential protein interactions.

Karl Barber, a Yale graduate student who is the first author on the study said, “Biologists want to know which proteins interact with each other because diseases can arise when these interactions go wrong.”

Other authors include Yale professors Farren Isaacs and Mark Gerstein and Jeffrey Sampson of Agilent, which has applied for a patent on the technology along with Yale. The study was primarily funded by the National Institutes of Health. The research was published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.