Image: Courtesy of Ambion
 Coupled transcription and translation systems transcribe RNA from a DNA template, and then translate that RNA directly, without intervening purification steps.

Cell-free, in vitro protein expression is a welcome alternative to time-consuming cell-based systems and appeals to scientists interested in toxic, insoluble, or rapidly degraded proteins incompatible with in vivo systems.1 Until recently though, inadequate protein yields from in vitro translation systems prevented researchers from using them to produce source material for functional and structural analyses.

Roche Applied Sciences of Indianapolis bumped in vitro protein expression up a notch last year, when it introduced its Rapid Translation Systems (RTS 100 and RTS 500), and did so again with the recent addition of RTS 9000. Starting with a DNA template, RTS 500 ($1,500 [US]) can produce up to 5 mg and RTS 9000 ($3,000) can generate up to 150 mg of protein in 24 hours. For...

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