Re­searchers re­veal new in­no­va­tions in cell-free biotech­nol­ogy

Chemical Industry Digest - - New Developments -

Re­searchers at Yale Univer­sity and the Illi­nois In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy have de­vel­oped a new way to man­u­fac­ture proteins out­side of a cell that could have im­por­tant im­pli­ca­tions in ther­a­peu­tics and bio­ma­te­ri­als. The ad­vance could make pos­si­ble de­cen­tral­ized man­u­fac­tur­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion pro­cesses for pro­tein ther­a­peu­tics that might, in the fu­ture, pro­mote bet­ter ac­cess to costly drugs all over the world. The team set out to im­prove the qual­ity of man­u­fac­tured proteins in vitro, or out­side a cell, and found suc­cess across a num­ber of fronts. The re­sults were pub­lished in Na­ture Com­mu­ni­ca­tions re­cently.

Pro­tein pro­duc­tion plays a crit­i­cal role in medicine, biotech­nolo­gies, and life sci­ences. Re­com­bi­nant pro­tein pro­duc­tion. Con­ven­tion­ally, pro­tein pro­duc­tion has been ac­com­plished in liv­ing cells in large cen­tral­ized man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

With­out the worry of try­ing to keep a cell alive, this process opens up many pos­si­bil­i­ties, in­clud­ing the syn­the­sis of new classes of en­zymes, ther­a­peu­tics, ma­te­ri­als, and chem­i­cals with di­verse chem­istry. A liv­ing cell may balk when asked to do some­thing it hasn’t seen in its evo­lu­tion­ary bi­ol­ogy, not so for a cell-free pro­tein syn­the­sis (CFPS) plat­form.

The prob­lem is that, the ef­forts to use CFPS sys­tems for ex­pand­ing mul­ti­ple non-canon­i­cal amino acids have been lim­ited by com­pe­ti­tion with the nat­u­ral ma­chin­ery that ter­mi­nates pro­tein syn­the­sis. As a re­sult, man­u­fac­tur­ing proteins har­bor­ing di­verse chemistries with high pu­rity and yields has pre­sented a for­mi­da­ble chal­lenge.

But the re­searchers pro­duced the high­est yields of proteins with non-canon­i­cal amino acids ever re­ported for in vitro sys­tems, sug­gest­ing that long-term com­mer­cial ap­pli­ca­tions for CFPS might be re­al­is­tic.

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