Automated production of functional membrane proteins using eukaryotic cell-free translation systems

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Due to their high abundance and pharmacological relevance there is a growing demand for the efficient production of functional membrane proteins. In this context, cell-free protein synthesis represents a valuable alternative that allows for the high-throughput synthesis of functional membrane proteins. Here, we demonstrate the potential of our cell-free protein synthesis system, based on lysates from cultured Spodoptera frugiperda 21 cells, to produce pro- and eukaryotic membrane proteins with individual topological characteristics in an automated fashion. Analytical techniques, including confocal laser scanning microscopy, fluorescence detection of eYFP fusion proteins in a microplate reader and in-gel fluorescence of statistically incorporated fluorescent amino acid derivatives were employed. The reproducibility of our automated synthesis approach is underlined by coefficients of variation below 7.2%. Moreover, the functionality of the cell-free synthesized potassium channel KcsA was analyzed electrophysiologically. Finally, we expanded our cell-free membrane protein synthesis system by an orthogonal tRNA/synthetase pair for the site-directed incorporation of p-Azido-l-phenylalanine based on stop codon suppression. Incorporation was optimized by performance of a two-dimensional screening with different Mg<sup>2+</sup> and lysate concentrations. Subsequently, the selective modification of membrane proteins with incorporated p-Azido-l-phenylalanine was exemplified by Staudinger ligation with a phosphine-based fluorescence dye.




Quast, R. B., Kortt, O., Henkel, J., Dondapati, S. K., Wüstenhagen, D. A., Stech, M., & Kubick, S. (2015). Automated production of functional membrane proteins using eukaryotic cell-free translation systems. Journal of Biotechnology, 203, 45–53.

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