Peptides are small proteins that are crucial in many biological pathways such as antimicrobial defense, hormone signaling, and virulence. They often exhibit tight specificity for their targets and therefore have great therapeutic potential. Many peptide-based therapeutics are currently available, and the demand for this type of drug is expected to continue to increase. In order to satisfy the growing demand for peptide-based therapeutics, new engineering approaches to generate novel peptides should be developed. Ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptides (RiPPs) are a group of peptides that have the potential to be effective scaffolds for in vivo peptide engineering projects. These natural RiPP peptides are enzymatically endowed with post-translational modifications (PTMs) that result in increased stability and greater target specificity. Many RiPPs, such as microcin J25 and micrococcin, can tolerate considerable amino acid sequence randomization while still being capable of receiving unique post-translational modifications. This thesis describes how we successfully engineered E. coli to produce the lasso peptide microcin J25 using a two-plasmid inducible expression system. In addition, we characterized the protein-protein interactions between PTM enzymes in the synthesis of micrococcin. The first step in micrococcin synthesis is the alteration of cysteines to thiazoles on the precursor peptide TclE. This step is accomplished by three proteins: TclI, TclJ, and TclN. We found that a 4-membered protein complex is formed consisting of TclI, TclJ, TclN, and TclE. Furthermore, the TclI protein functions as a central adaptor joining two other enzymes in the Tcl pathway with the substrate peptide.
College and Department
Life Sciences; Microbiology and Molecular Biology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Bursey, Devan, "Ribosomally Synthesized and Post-Translationally Modified Peptides as Potential Scaffolds for Peptide Engineering" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 8124.
peptide engineering, post-translational modifications, thiazole, lasso peptides, thiopeptides