Elliott TS, Townsley FM, Bianco A, Ernst RJ, Sachdeva A, Elsässer SJ, Davis L, Lang K, Pisa R, Greiss S, Lilley KS, Chin JW
Nat Biotechnol 32 (5) 465-472 [2014-05-00; online 2014-04-13]
Identifying the proteins synthesized at specific times in cells of interest in an animal will facilitate the study of cellular functions and dynamic processes. Here we introduce stochastic orthogonal recoding of translation with chemoselective modification (SORT-M) to address this challenge. SORT-M involves modifying cells to express an orthogonal aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase/tRNA pair to enable the incorporation of chemically modifiable analogs of amino acids at diverse sense codons in cells in rich media. We apply SORT-M to Drosophila melanogaster fed standard food to label and image proteins in specific tissues at precise developmental stages with diverse chemistries, including cyclopropene-tetrazine inverse electron demand Diels-Alder cycloaddition reactions. We also use SORT-M to identify proteins synthesized in germ cells of the fly ovary without dissection. SORT-M will facilitate the definition of proteins synthesized in specific sets of cells to study development, and learning and memory in flies, and may be extended to other animals.