Article

Cell-free metabolic engineering promotes high-level production of bioactive Gaussia princeps luciferase.

Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
Metabolic Engineering (Impact Factor: 8.26). 05/2008; 10(3-4):187-200. DOI: 10.1016/j.ymben.2008.04.001
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Due to its small size and intense luminescent signal, Gaussia princeps luciferase (GLuc) is attractive as a potential imaging agent in both cell culture and small animal research models. However, recombinant GLuc production using in vivo techniques has only produced small quantities of active luciferase, likely due to five disulfide bonds being required for full activity. Cell-free biology provides the freedom to control both the catalyst and chemical compositions in biological reactions, and we capitalized on this to produce large amounts of highly active GLuc in cell-free reactions. Active yields were improved by mutating the cell extract source strain to reduce proteolysis, adjusting reaction conditions to enhance oxidative protein folding, further activating energy metabolism, and encouraging post-translational activation. This cell-free protein synthesis procedure produced 412mug/mL of purified GLuc, relative to 5mug/mL isolated for intracellular Escherichia coli expression. The cell-free product had a specific activity of 4.2x10(24)photons/s/mol, the highest reported activity for any characterized luciferase.

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