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.”

September 2018

The Muscle Issue

The dynamic tissue reveals its secrets

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Horizon Discovery introduces Myeloid DNA Reference Standard to support genetic testing of leukemia

Horizon Discovery introduces Myeloid DNA Reference Standard to support genetic testing of leukemia

Horizon Discovery Group plc, a global leader in gene editing and gene modulation technologies, today announced the launch of its Myeloid DNA Reference Standard. The first-to-market large cell-line derived myeloid cancer reference standard designed enables faster, more reliable and more cost-effective assay validation, to support the market in bringing routine testing into practice.

StemExpress LeukopakâNow Available in Frozen Format

StemExpress LeukopakâNow Available in Frozen Format

StemExpress, a Folsom, California based leading supplier of human biospecimens, announces the release of frozen Peripheral Blood Leukopaks. Leukopaks provide an enriched source of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with low granulocyte and red blood cells that can be used in a variety of downstream cell-based applications.

New Antifade Mounting Media from Vector Laboratories Enhances Immunofluorescence Applications

New Antifade Mounting Media from Vector Laboratories Enhances Immunofluorescence Applications

Vector Laboratories, a leader in the development and manufacture of labeling and detection reagents for biomedical research, introduces VECTASHIELD® Vibrance™ – antifade mounting media that delivers significant improvements to the immunofluorescence workflow.

Best Practices for Sample Preparation and Lipid Extraction from Various Samples

Best Practices for Sample Preparation and Lipid Extraction from Various Samples

Download this white paper from Bertin Technologies to learn how to extract and analyze lipid samples from various models!