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Curr Protoc Mol Biol. 2014 Oct 1;108:16.30.1-11. doi: 10.1002/0471142727.mb1630s108.

Overview of cell-free protein synthesis: historic landmarks, commercial systems, and expanding applications.

Author information

1
New England Biolabs, Ipswich, Massachusetts.

Abstract

During the early days of molecular biology, cell-free protein synthesis played an essential role in deciphering the genetic code and contributed to our understanding of translation of protein from messenger RNA. Owing to several decades of major and incremental improvements, modern cell-free systems have achieved higher protein synthesis yields at lower production costs. Commercial cell-free systems are now available from a variety of material sources, ranging from "traditional" E. coli, rabbit reticulocyte lysate, and wheat germ extracts, to recent insect and human cell extracts, to defined systems reconstituted from purified recombinant components. Although each cell-free system has certain advantages and disadvantages, the diversity of the cell-free systems allows in vitro synthesis of a wide range of proteins for a variety of downstream applications. In the post-genomic era, cell-free protein synthesis has rapidly become the preferred approach for high-throughput functional and structural studies of proteins and a versatile tool for in vitro protein evolution and synthetic biology. This unit provides a brief history of cell-free protein synthesis and describes key advances in modern cell-free systems, practical differences between widely used commercial cell-free systems, and applications of this important technology.

KEYWORDS:

artificial cell; cell-free protein synthesis; high throughput; in vitro protein evolution; isotope labeling; unnatural amino acid

PMID:
25271714
PMCID:
PMC4211078
DOI:
10.1002/0471142727.mb1630s108
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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