A new technique developed at UC Davis may have broken the barrier to rapid assembly of pure protein synthesis machinery outside of living cells.

In order to reconstitute cellular reactions outside of biological systems, scientists need to produce the proteins involved.

Rapid yet high purity reconstitution of the cellular reactions is critical for the high-throughput study of cellular pathways and cell-free diagnostic tests for various diseases.

This process is expensive and time consuming, making the production of more than several proteins at once extremely challenging.

In a paper published in Nature Chemical Biology, Fernando Villarreal and colleagues in Professor Cheemeng Tan's lab in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at UC Davis describe the production in a single culture of all 34 proteins required for mRNA translation -- the process of synthesizing protein from genetic code -- in the correct proportions.

The Tan lab circumvented these limitations by synthetically engineering strains of Escherichia coli bacteria to produce the required proteins of correct quantity within a single mixed culture.

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