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Peng Chen Group at Peking University has extended the pyrrolysine-based genetic code expansion method into enteric bacterial pathogens including enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC), Shigella and Salmonella. This work was published online in Journal of American Chemical Society on November 15th. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/ja209008w

To demonstrate the application of their system, a photo-cross-linking amino acid and an azide-bearing amino acid were site specifically incorporated into a defensive chaperone and an invasive toxin in Shigella, respectively. This strategy allowed them to study the acid-survival mechanism as well as the Type three secretion system that are employed by such pathogens to cause infections in human intestine.

This work was led by a third year graduate student-Mr. Shixian Lin in Chen Group. Shixian is currently focusing on expanding the genetic codes of diverse bacterial pathogens (e.g., Yersinia, Pseudomonas aeruginosa) and human viruses (e.g., Hepatitis D virus). Such work may ultimately allow them to gain deep understanding of how pathogenic species invade human hosts.

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