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N Biotechnol. 2011 Apr 30;28(3):262-71. doi: 10.1016/j.nbt.2010.07.002. Epub 2010 Jul 15.

Advances in cell-free protein synthesis for the functional and structural analysis of membrane proteins.

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Centre for Biomolecular Magnetic Resonance, Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Goethe-University of Frankfurt/Main, Max-von-Laue-Str. 9, D-60438 Frankfurt/Main, Germany.


Cell-free expression has emerged as a powerful technique to overcome major restrictions of classical in vivo membrane protein production, with sample yields of mgms of protein per ml reaction volume possible in less than a day. The open nature and high versatility of cell-free expression allows a variety of completely new ways to rationally design and optimise expression environments as well as to modulate folding kinetics for membrane proteins independent of their origin, size, topology and function. This article summarises the array of currently available options to modify and develop cell-free expression protocols adapted to the specific requirements of individual membrane proteins. We give further an overview of the recent advances of cell-free production of membrane proteins for structural and functional analysis.

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