Menu

Cell-free Protein Synthesis

Researchers build a microfluidics system to create proteins without living cells.

Dec 31, 2015
Karen Zusi

Parallel reactor and feeder channels (top), a single pore in the engineered membrane (left), and a diagram illustrating metabolite exchange across the membrane (right)OAK RIDGE NATIONAL LABORATORYResearchers from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee have created an artificial system to synthesize proteins without needing a cell culture. The group published its report last week (December 22) in Small.

The bioreactor uses a reagent mix that combines E. coli cell extract, DNA encoding the gene for a green fluorescent protein, and the necessary metabolites. Instead of a living system, the new protein synthesis machinery uses long serpentine channels made of silicon integrated with an artificial membrane to combine materials between a “reactor” and a “feeder” channel. “This engineered membrane facilitates the exchange of metabolites, energy, and inhibitory species,” the authors wrote in their paper.

The team compared the protein synthesis of its dual-channel bioreactor to a reference mix incubated in microcentrifuge tubes and in single-channel bioreactors. In the microcentrifuge tubes, the reference mix was simply incubated on a shaker until it stopped producing proteins, leveling off at a final protein concentration of 325 μg/mL. In the single-channel system, the protein yield improved by 24 percent. Comparatively, after refining the engineered membrane, the bioreactor produced a protein concentration of 2 mg/mL.

“With this approach, we can produce more protein faster, making our technology ideal for point-of-care use,” study coauthor Scott Retterer of ORNL said in a press release. “The fact it’s cell-free reduces the infrastructure needed to produce the protein and opens the possibility of creating proteins when and where you need them, bypassing the challenge of keeping the proteins cold during shipment and storage.”

January 2019

Cannabis on Board

Research suggests ill effects of cannabinoids in the womb

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

FORMULATRIX® digital PCR technology to be acquired by QIAGEN
FORMULATRIX® digital PCR technology to be acquired by QIAGEN
FORMULATRIX has announced that their digital PCR assets, including the CONSTELLATION® series of instruments, is being acquired by QIAGEN N.V. (NYSE: QGEN, Frankfurt Stock Exchange: QIA) for up to $260 million ($125 million upfront payment and $135 million of milestones).  QIAGEN has announced plans for a global launch in 2020 of a new series of digital PCR platforms that utilize the advanced dPCR technology developed by FORMULATRIX combined with QIAGEN’s expertise in assay development and automation.
Application of CRISPR/Cas to the Generation of Genetically Engineered Mice
Application of CRISPR/Cas to the Generation of Genetically Engineered Mice
With this application note from Taconic, learn about the power that the CRISPR/Cas system has to revolutionize the field of custom mouse model generation!
Translational Models of Obesity, Dysmetabolism, Diabetes, and Complications
Translational Models of Obesity, Dysmetabolism, Diabetes, and Complications
This webinar, from Crown Bioscience, presents a unique continuum of translational dysmetabolic platforms that more closely mimic human disease. Learn about using next-generation rodent and spontaneously diabetic non-human primate models to accurately model human-relevant disease progression and complications related to obesity and diabetes here!
BiochemAR: an augmented reality app for easy visualization of virtual 3D molecular models
BiochemAR: an augmented reality app for easy visualization of virtual 3D molecular models
Have you played Pokemon Go? Then you've used Augmented Reality (AR) technology! AR technology holds substantial promise and potential for providing a low-cost, easy to use digital platform for the manipulation of virtual 3D objects, including 3D models of biological macromolecules.