Functional genetic encoding of sulfotyrosine in mammalian cells

Xinyuan He, Yan Chen, Daisy Guiza Beltran, Maia Kelly, Bin Ma, Justin Lawrie, Feng Wang, Eric Dodds, Limei Zhang, Jiantao Guo, Wei Niu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Protein tyrosine O-sulfation (PTS) plays a crucial role in extracellular biomolecular interactions that dictate various cellular processes. It also involves in the development of many human diseases. Regardless of recent progress, our current understanding of PTS is still in its infancy. To promote and facilitate relevant studies, a generally applicable method is needed to enable efficient expression of sulfoproteins with defined sulfation sites in live mammalian cells. Here we report the engineering, in vitro biochemical characterization, structural study, and in vivo functional verification of a tyrosyl-tRNA synthetase mutant for the genetic encoding of sulfotyrosine in mammalian cells. We further apply this chemical biology tool to cell-based studies on the role of a sulfation site in the activation of chemokine receptor CXCR4 by its ligand. Our work will not only facilitate cellular studies of PTS, but also paves the way for economical production of sulfated proteins as therapeutic agents in mammalian systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4820
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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