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Expert Rev Proteomics. 2005 Jan;2(1):49-55.

High-throughput automated platform for nuclear magnetic resonance-based structural proteomics.

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Center for Eukaryotic Structural Genomics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI 53706-1549, USA.


The development of new systems and strategies capable of synthesizing any desired soluble, labeled protein or protein fragment on a preparative scale is one of the most important tasks in biotechnology today. The Center for Eukaryotic Structural Genomics (WI, USA), in co-operation with Ehime University (Matsuyama, Japan) and CellFree Sciences Co., Ltd, has developed an automated platform for nuclear magnetic resonance-based structural proteomics that employs wheat germ extracts for cell-free production of labeled protein. The platform utilizes a single construct for all targets without any redesign of the DNA or RNA. Therefore, it offers advantages over commercial cell-free methods utilizing Escherichia coli extracts that require multiple constructs or redesign of the open reading frame. The protein production and labeling protocol is no more costly than E. coli cell-based approaches, is robust and scalable for high-throughput applications. This protocol has been used in the authors center to screen eukaryotic open reading frames from the Arabidopsis thaliana and human genomes and for the determination of nuclear magnetic resonance structures. With the recent addition of the GeneDecoder 1000 (CellFree Sciences Co., Ltd) robotic system, the Center for Eukaryotic Structural Genomics is able to carry out as many as 384 small-scale (50 microl) screening reactions per week. Furthermore, the Protemist (CellFree Sciences Co., Ltd) robotic system enables the Center for Eukaryotic Structural Genomics to carry out 16 production-scale (4 ml) reactions per week. Utilization of this automated platform technology to screen targets for expression and solubility and to produce stable isotope-labeled samples for nuclear magnetic resonance structure determinations is discussed.

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