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1.  TrimerDimer: an oligonucleotide-based saturation mutagenesis approach that removes redundant and stop codons 
Nucleic Acids Research  2009;37(18):e125.
9-fluorenylmethoxycarbonyl (Fmoc) and 4,4′-dimethoxytrityl (DMTr) are orthogonal hydroxyl protecting groups that have been used in conjunction to assemble oligonucleotide libraries whose variants contain wild-type and mutant codons randomly interspersed throughout a focused DNA region. Fmoc is labile to organic bases and stable to weak acids, whereas DMTr behaves oppositely. Based on these chemical characteristics, we have now devised TrimerDimer, a novel codon-based saturation mutagenesis approach that removes redundant and stop codons during the assembly of degenerate oligonucleotides. In this approach, five DMTr-protected trinucleotide phosphoramidites (dTGG, dATG, dTTT, dTAT and dTGC) and five Fmoc-protected dinucleotide phosphoramidites (dAA, dTT, dAT, dGC and dCG) react simultaneously with a starting oligonucleotide growing on a solid support. The Fmoc group is then removed and the incorporated dimers react with a mixture of three DMTr-protected monomer phosphoramidites (dC, dA and dG) to produce 15 trinucleotides: dCAA, dAAA, dGAA, dCTT, dATT, dGTT, dCAT, dAAT, dGAT, dCGC, dAGC, dGGC, dCCG, dACG and dGCG. After one mutagenic cycle, 20 codons are generated encoding the 20 natural amino acids. TrimerDimer was tested by randomizing the four contiguous codons that encode amino acids L64–G67 of an engineered, nonfluorescent GFP protein. Sequencing of 89 nonfluorescent mutant clones and isolation of two fluorescent mutants confirmed the principle.
PMCID: PMC2764442  PMID: 19783828
2.  The effect of amino acid deletions and substitutions in the longest loop of GFP 
The effect of single and multiple amino acid substitutions in the green fluorescent protein (GFP) from Aequorea victoria has been extensively explored, yielding several proteins of diverse spectral properties. However, the role of amino acid deletions in this protein -as with most proteins- is still unknown, due to the technical difficulties involved in generating combinatorial in-phase amino acid deletions on a target region.
In this study, the region I129-L142 of superglo GFP (sgGFP), corresponding to the longest loop of the protein and located far away from the central chromophore, was subjected to a random amino acid deletion approach, employing an in-house recently developed mutagenesis method termed Codon-Based Random Deletion (COBARDE). Only two mutants out of 16384 possible variant proteins retained fluorescence: sgGFP-Δ I129 and sgGFP-Δ D130. Interestingly, both mutants were thermosensitive and at 30°C sgGFP-Δ D130 was more fluorescent than the parent protein. In contrast with deletions, substitutions of single amino acids from residues F131 to L142 were well tolerated. The substitution analysis revealed a particular importance of residues F131, G135, I137, L138, H140 and L142 for the stability of the protein.
The behavior of GFP variants with both amino acid deletions and substitutions demonstrate that this loop is playing an important structural role in GFP folding. Some of the amino acids which tolerated any substitution but no deletion are simply acting as "spacers" to localize important residues in the protein structure.
PMCID: PMC1919350  PMID: 17594481

Results 1-2 (2)