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Synthorx Makes its First Proteins with Novel Amino Acids

Synthorx Inc, a little known biotech startup from California, has announced success in creating in-vivo DNA with synthetic nucleic acids. The feat was possible thanks to their proprietary protein expression system.

Using a semi-synthetic DNA template that contained the natural base pairs along with an artificial one (X and Y), the company produced RNA containing X and Y. The hybrid RNA was translated, in a natural biological system, into a protein with multiple novel amino acids.




DNA is made of four chemical bases – A, T, G and C. Those four bases make triplets that code for 20 different amino acids.  But last year, Synthorx published an article in the journal Nature presenting a new synthetic base pair that was incorporated into DNA and successfully replicated in vivo. The pair was named d5SICSTP and dNaMTP (abbreviated X and Y). The research team has been busy since developing a protein expression system that could use the X and Y base pair. By adding the new synthetic bases, new base triplets would code for 152 novel amino acids which could be combined to make proteins with unique properties. The system has been finally validated after new proteins we produced. Synthorx scientists transcribed their synthetic DNA into messenger RNA, which was translated, with their proprietary protein expression system, into a protein of several hundred regular amino acids and one or more novel amino acids. Correct incorporation of the novel amino acids at the intended locations was confirmed with mass spectrometry.


Synthorx has created a technology that opens the door to infinite possiblities. Many diverse proteins will be created for improved drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines.

Source: Synthorx