Dissecting the Determinants of Domain Insertion Tolerance and Allostery in Proteins

Jan Mathony*, Sabine Aschenbrenner, Philipp Becker, Dominik Niopek*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Domain insertion engineering is a promising approach to recombine the functions of evolutionarily unrelated proteins. Insertion of light-switchable receptor domains into a selected effector protein, for instance, can yield allosteric effectors with light-dependent activity. However, the parameters that determine domain insertion tolerance and allostery are poorly understood. Here, an unbiased screen is used to systematically assess the domain insertion permissibility of several evolutionary unrelated proteins. Training machine learning models on the resulting data allow to dissect features informative for domain insertion tolerance and revealed sequence conservation statistics as the strongest indicators of suitable insertion sites. Finally, extending the experimental pipeline toward the identification of switchable hybrids results in opto-chemogenetic derivatives of the transcription factor AraC that function as single-protein Boolean logic gates. The study reveals determinants of domain insertion tolerance and yielded multimodally switchable proteins with unique functional properties.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2303496
JournalAdvanced Science
Issue number28
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Allostery
  • Domain insertion
  • Optogenetics
  • Protein engineering


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