A journey down to hell: new thermostable protein-tags for biotechnology at high temperatures.
The specific labelling of proteins in recent years has made use of self-labelling proteins, such as the SNAP-tag® and the Halotag®. These enzymes, by their nature or suitably engineered, have the ability to specifically react with their respective substrates, but covalently retaining a part of them in the catalytic site upon reaction. This led to the synthesis of substrates conjugated with, e.g., fluorophores (proposing them as alternatives to fluorescent proteins), but also with others chemical groups, for numerous biotechnological applications. Recently, a mutant of the OGT from Saccharolobus solfataricus (H5) very stable to high temperatures and in the presence of physical and chemical denaturing agents has been proposed as a thermostable SNAP-tag® for in vivo and in vitro harsh reaction conditions. Here, we show two new thermostable OGTs from Thermotoga neapolitana and Pyrococcus furiosus, which, respectively, display a higher catalytic activity and thermostability respect to H5, proposing them as alternatives for in vivo studies in these extreme model organisms.