Using Sacrificial DNA to Improve LET-Based CFPS Protein Yields
Andrew Broadbent, Bradley C. Bundy
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA
AIChE 2015 Conference Abstract
Proteins—polymers of amino acids—are a major class of biomolecules whose myriad functions facilitate many crucial biological processes. Accordingly, human control over these biological processes depends upon the ability to study, produce, and modify proteins. One innovative tool for accomplishing these aims is cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS). This method, rather than using living cells to make protein, simply extracts the cells' natural protein-making machinery and then uses it to produce protein in vitro. Because living cells are no longer involved, scientists can freely adapt the protein production environment in ways not otherwise possible. However, improved versatility and yield of CFPS protein production is still the subject of considerable research.
This work seeks to improve CFPS protein yield by preventing the degradation of template DNA in CFPS. Among the advantages of CFPS is the option of using linear expression templates (LETs) in place of plasmids as the DNA template for protein production. Because LETs can be produced more quickly than plasmids can, using LETs greatly reduces the time required to obtain a DNA template for protein production. This renders CFPS a better candidate for high-throughput testing of proteins. However, LETs are more susceptible to enzyme degradation than plasmids are, which means that LET-based CFPS protein yields are lower than plasmid-based CFPS yields. This work explores the possibility of increasing the protein yield of LET-based CFPS by addition of sacrificial DNA, DNA which is not used as a protein-making template but which is degraded by the enzymes in place of the LETs.