intein

(redirected from Inteins)

intein

(ĭn′tē-ĭn) [″ + (pro)tein]
An internal sequence or segment of a protein that may be spliced out of the larger molecule after it is translated, leaving the remaining segments (the “exteins”) to rejoin and form a new protein.
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Topics include: transposon Tn7, mercury resistant transposons, integrons, inteins and introns, restriction-modification systems as mobile epigenetic elements, Tn1549 and closely related elements, integrative and conjugative elements encoding DDE transposases, and the staphylococcal cassette chromosome.
Among the topics are yeast-based chemical genomic approaches, activity-based protein profiling of cys proteases, using analogue sensitive technologies to target kinases of interest, using split inteins to prepare semi-synthetic proteins and to study the mechanisms of protein trans-splicing, and introducing chemical reporter groups by bio-orthogonal ligation reactions for imaging cell-surface glycans.
It's not yet completely clear how this unusual process occurs, but it doesn't appear to involve protein-splicing enzymes called inteins (SN: 10/2/99, p.
Investigators now use inteins to purify proteins or bend them into loops, for example.
While biotechnology applications of inteins have blossomed, biologists have made little progress in revealing the roles that inteins naturally play inside a cell--or even if they have a cellular function at all.
Determining the purpose of inteins might have a medical payoff.
Once biochemists realized the skills of inteins, they quickly began to dream up uses for the talented proteins.
Jack Benner, and Ming-Qun Xu of New England Biolabs described a way of using inteins to make proteins that are normally toxic to bacteria and other cells.
Biochemists have also modified inteins so that when they hack themselves from a protein, they leave the exposed protein ends susceptible to forming a bond with another protein.
Evans and his colleagues are also hoping that inteins and their ability to create proteins with sticky ends will help them combine proteins into long chains.
Muir's group has also used inteins to splice a small fluorescent region into the middle of a protein.