Selections from phage-displayed combinatorial peptide libraries are an effective strategy for identifying peptide ligands to target proteins. Existing protocols for constructing phage-displayed libraries utilize either ligation into double-stranded phage DNA or Kunkel mutagenesis with single-stranded phagemid DNA. Although the Kunkel approach rapidly provides library sizes of up to 1011, as many as 20% of the phagemids may be non-recombinant. With several modifications to current Kunkel protocols, we have generated peptide libraries with sizes of up to 1011 clones and recombination frequencies approaching 100%. The production of phage libraries, as opposed to phagemid libraries, simplifies selection experiments by eliminating the need for helper phage. Our approach relies upon the presence of an amber stop codon in the coding region of gene III of bacteriophage M13. Oligonucleotides containing randomized stretches of DNA are annealed to the phage genome such that the randomized region forms a heteroduplex with the stop codon. The oligonucleotide is then enzymatically extended to generate covalently-closed, circular DNA, which is electroporated into a non-suppressor strain of Escherichia coli. If the amber stop codon is present in the DNA molecule, protein III is not synthesized and the phage cannot propagate itself. This method is customizable for the display of either random or focused peptide libraries. To date, we have constructed 22 different libraries ranging from 8-20 amino acids in length, utilizing complete or reduced codon sets.
Keywords: Bacteriophage M13, combinatorial peptides, Kunkel mutagenesis, peptide libraries, reduced codon sets
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