Largest Human Synthesized Protein

The newly designed protein, built by Vanderbilt chemists contains 242 amino acids.

They designed and successfully synthesized a variant of a protein that nature uses to manufacture the essential amino acid histidine. It is more than twice the size of the previous record holder, a protein created by researchers at the University of Washington in 2003.

This protein has helped in finding a potential treatment strategy for HIV by using designed protein vaccines in mice. Engineers have designed artificial proteins that mimic antibodies in broadly neutralizing flu infections. The technique developed at Vanderbilt promises to expand the scope of these efforts substantially.

 “We now have the algorithms we need to engineer large proteins with shapes that you don’t see in nature. This gives us the tools we need to create new, more effective antibodies and other beneficial proteins,” says Jens Meiler, an associate professor of chemistry, who led the effort.


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