A universal, vector-based system for nucleic acid reading-frame selection

Stefan Lutz, Walter Fast, Stephen J. Benkovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The identification of a nucleic acid sequence's correct reading frame has important implications for homology-independent protein engineering techniques such as incremental truncation and SCRATCHY. We report the development and experimental implementation of a general inframe selection system, pSALect, a plasmid vector that utilizes two marker sequences flanking the DNA of interest. This dual selection approach overcomes inconsistencies observed with traditional C-terminally fused reporter proteins. In the pSALect vector, sequences of interest are positioned between an N-terminal Tat-signal sequence and a C-terminal β-lactamase reporter. In-frame selection of the resulting three-domain protein is performed by growing colonies on ampicillin-containing plates, requiring full-length translation in order to link covalently the signal sequence to the lactamase for export into the periplasm. This dual selection scheme has been validated successfully using defined sequences of glycinamide ribonucleotide formyltransferases (GARTs) from Escherichia coli and human and, in contrast to C-terminal fusion systems, proved effective when applied towards the selection of in-frame constructs in an incremental truncation library.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1025-1030
Number of pages6
JournalProtein Engineering
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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