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Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2013 Jun;23(3):374-80. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2013 Apr 27.

Cell-free expression--making a mark.

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Institute of Biophysical Chemistry, Centre for Biomolecular Magnetic Resonance, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


Cell-free protein production opens new perspectives for the direct manipulation of expression compartments in combination with reduced complexity of physiological requirements. The technology is therefore in particular suitable for the general synthesis of difficult proteins including toxins and membrane proteins as well as for the analysis of their functional folding in artificial environments. A further key application of cell-free expression is the fast and economic labeling of proteins for structural and functional applications. Two extract sources, wheat embryos and Escherichia coli cells, are currently employed for the preparative scale cell-free production of proteins. Recent achievements in structural characterization include cell-free synthesized membrane proteins and even larger protein assemblies may become feasible.

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