Tuning the Cell-Free Protein Synthesis System for Biomanufacturing of Monomeric Human Filaggrin.
ABSTRACT: The modern cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) system is expanding the opportunity of cell-free biomanufacturing as a versatile platform for synthesizing various therapeutic proteins. However, synthesizing human protein in the bacterial CFPS system remains challenging due to the low expression level, protein misfolding, inactivity, and more. These challenges limit the use of a bacterial CFPS system for human therapeutic protein synthesis. In this study, we demonstrated the improved performance of a customized CFPS platform for human therapeutic protein production by investigating the factors that limit cell-free transcription-translation. The improvement of the CFPS platform has been made in three ways. First, the cell extract was prepared from the rare tRNA expressed host strain, and CFPS was performed with a codon-optimized gene for Escherichia coli codon usage bias. The soluble protein yield was 15.2 times greater with the rare tRNA overexpressing host strain as cell extract and codon-optimized gene in the CFPS system. Next, we identify and prioritize the critical biomanufacturing factors for highly active crude cell lysate for human protein synthesis. Lastly, we engineer the CFPS reaction conditions to enhance protein yield. In this model, the therapeutic protein filaggrin expression was significantly improved by up to 23-fold, presenting 28 ± 5 ?M of soluble protein yield. The customized CFPS system for filaggrin biomanufacturing described here demonstrates the potential of the CFPS system to be adapted for studying therapeutic proteins.
Project description:A renaissance in cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) is underway, enabled by the acceleration and adoption of synthetic biology methods. CFPS has emerged as a powerful platform technology for synthetic gene network design, biosensing and on-demand biomanufacturing. Whilst primarily of bacterial origin, cell-free extracts derived from a variety of host organisms have been explored, aiming to capitalise on cellular diversity and the advantageous properties associated with those organisms. However, cell-free extracts produced from eukaryotes are often overlooked due to their relatively low yields, despite the potential for improved protein folding and posttranslational modifications. Here we describe further development of a Pichia pastoris cell-free platform, a widely used expression host in both academia and the biopharmaceutical industry. Using a minimised Design of Experiments (DOE) approach, we were able to increase the productivity of the system by improving the composition of the complex reaction mixture. This was achieved in a minimal number of experimental runs, within the constraints of the design and without the need for liquid-handling robots. In doing so, we were able to estimate the main effects impacting productivity in the system and increased the protein synthesis of firefly luciferase and the biopharmaceutical HSA by 4.8-fold and 3.5-fold, respectively. This study highlights the P. pastoris-based cell-free system as a highly productive eukaryotic platform and displays the value of minimised DOE designs.
Project description:Cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) is a platform technology that provides new opportunities for protein expression, metabolic engineering, therapeutic development, education, and more. The advantages of CFPS over in vivo protein expression include its open system, the elimination of reliance on living cells, and the ability to focus all system energy on production of the protein of interest. Over the last 60 years, the CFPS platform has grown and diversified greatly, and it continues to evolve today. Both new applications and new types of extracts based on a variety of organisms are current areas of development. However, new users interested in CFPS may find it challenging to implement a cell-free platform in their laboratory due to the technical and functional considerations involved in choosing and executing a platform that best suits their needs. Here we hope to reduce this barrier to implementing CFPS by clarifying the similarities and differences amongst cell-free platforms, highlighting the various applications that have been accomplished in each of them, and detailing the main methodological and instrumental requirement for their preparation. Additionally, this review will help to contextualize the landscape of work that has been done using CFPS and showcase the diversity of applications that it enables.
Project description:Eukaryotic cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) is limited by the dependence on costly high-energy phosphate compounds and exogenous enzymes to power protein synthesis (e.g., creatine phosphate and creatine kinase, CrP/CrK). Here, we report the ability to use glucose as a secondary energy substrate to regenerate ATP in a Saccharomyces cerevisiae crude extract CFPS platform. We observed synthesis of 3.64±0.35 ?g mL(-1) active luciferase in batch reactions with 16 mM glucose and 25 mM phosphate, resulting in a 16% increase in relative protein yield (?g protein/$ reagents) compared to the CrP/CrK system. Our demonstration provides the foundation for development of cost-effective eukaryotic CFPS platforms.
Project description:Wheat-germ cell-free protein synthesis (WG-CFPS) is a potent platform for the high-yield production of proteins. It is especially of interest for difficult-to-express eukaryotic proteins, such as toxic and transmembrane proteins, and presents an important tool in high-throughput protein screening. Until recently, an assumed drawback of WG-CFPS was a reduced capacity for post-translational modifications. Meanwhile, phosphorylation has been observed in WG-CFPS; yet, authenticity of the respective phosphorylation sites remained unclear. Here we show that a viral membrane protein, the duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) large envelope protein (DHBs L), produced by WG-CFPS, is phosphorylated upon translation at the same sites as DHBs L produced during DHBV infection of primary hepatocytes. Furthermore, we show that alternative translation initiation of the L protein, previously identified in virus-producing hepatic cells, occurs on WG-CFPS as well. Together, these findings further strengthen the high potential of WG-CFPS to include the reproduction of specific modifications proteins experience in vivo.
Project description:Abstract Cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) systems enable the production of protein without the use of living, intact cells. An emerging area of interest is to use CFPS systems to characterize individual elements for genetic programs [e.g. promoters, ribosome binding sites (RBS)]. To enable this research area, robust CFPS systems must be developed from new chassis organisms. One such chassis is the Gram-negative Pseudomonas bacteria, which have been studied extensively for their diverse metabolism with promises in the field of bioremediation and biosynthesis. Here, we report the development and optimization of a high-yielding (198?±?5.9?µg/ml) batch CFPS system from Pseudomonas putida ATCC 12633. Importantly, both circular and linear DNA templates can be applied directly to the CFPS reaction to program protein synthesis. Therefore, it is possible to prepare hundreds or even thousands of DNA templates without time-consuming cloning work. This opens the possibility to rapidly assess and validate genetic part performance in vitro before performing experiments in cells. To validate the P. putida CFPS system as a platform for prototyping genetic parts, we designed and constructed a library consisting of 15 different RBSs upstream of the reporter protein sfGFP, which covered an order of magnitude range in expression. Looking forward, our P. putida CFPS platform will not only expand the protein synthesis toolkit for synthetic biology but also serve as a platform in expediting the screening and prototyping of gene regulatory elements.
Project description:Colicins are antimicrobial proteins produced by Escherichia coli that hold great promise as viable complements or alternatives to antibiotics. Cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) is a useful production platform for toxic proteins because it eliminates the need to maintain cell viability, a common problem in cell-based production. Previously, we demonstrated that colicins produced by CFPS based on crude Escherichia coli lysates are effective in eradicating antibiotic-tolerant bacteria known as persisters. However, we also found that some colicins have poor solubility or low cell-killing activity. In this study, we improved the solubility of colicin M from 16% to nearly 100% by producing it in chaperone-enriched E. coli extracts, resulting in enhanced cell-killing activity. We also improved the cytotoxicity of colicin E3 by adding or co-expressing the E3 immunity protein during the CFPS reaction, suggesting that the E3 immunity protein enhances colicin E3 activity in addition to protecting the host strain. Finally, we confirmed our previous finding that active colicins can be rapidly synthesized by observing colicin E1 production over time in CFPS. Within three hours of CFPS incubation, colicin E1 reached its maximum production yield and maintained high cytotoxicity during longer incubations up to 20 h. Taken together, our findings indicate that colicin production can be easily optimized for improved solubility and activity using the CFPS platform.
Project description:In recent years, cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) systems have been used to synthesize proteins, prototype genetic elements, manufacture chemicals, and diagnose diseases. These exciting, novel applications lead to a new wave of interest in the development of new CFPS systems that are derived from prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. The eukaryotic Pichia pastoris is emerging as a robust chassis host for recombinant protein production. To expand the current CFPS repertoire, we report here the development and optimization of a eukaryotic CFPS system, which is derived from a protease-deficient strain P. pastoris SMD1163. By developing a simple crude extract preparation protocol and optimizing CFPS reaction conditions, we were able to achieve superfolder green fluorescent protein (sfGFP) yields of 50.16 ± 7.49 ?g/ml in 5 h batch reactions. Our newly developed P. pastoris CFPS system fits to the range of the productivity achieved by other eukaryotic CFPS platforms, normally ranging from several to tens of micrograms protein per milliliter in batch mode reactions. Looking forward, we believe that our P. pastoris CFPS system will not only expand the CFPS toolbox for synthetic biology applications, but also provide a novel platform for cost-effective, high-yielding production of complex proteins that need post-translational modification and functionalization.
Project description:Site-specific incorporation of nonstandard amino acids (NSAAs) into proteins enables the creation of biopolymers, proteins, and enzymes with new chemical properties, new structures, and new functions. To achieve this, amber (TAG codon) suppression has been widely applied. However, the suppression efficiency is limited due to the competition with translation termination by release factor 1 (RF1), which leads to truncated products. Recently, we constructed a genomically recoded Escherichia coli strain lacking RF1 where 13 occurrences of the amber stop codon have been reassigned to the synonymous TAA codon (rEc.E13.?prfA). Here, we assessed and characterized cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) in crude S30 cell lysates derived from this strain. We observed the synthesis of 190±20 ?g/mL of modified soluble superfolder green fluorescent protein (sfGFP) containing a single p-propargyloxy-L-phenylalanine (pPaF) or p-acetyl-L-phenylalanine. As compared to the parent rEc.E13 strain with RF1, this results in a modified sfGFP synthesis improvement of more than 250%. Beyond introducing a single NSAA, we further demonstrated benefits of CFPS from the RF1-deficient strains for incorporating pPaF at two- and five-sites per sfGFP protein. Finally, we compared our crude S30 extract system to the PURE translation system lacking RF1. We observed that our S30 extract based approach is more cost-effective and high yielding than the PURE translation system lacking RF1, ?1000 times on a milligram protein produced/$ basis. Looking forward, using RF1-deficient strains for extract-based CFPS will aid in the synthesis of proteins and biopolymers with site-specifically incorporated NSAAs.
Project description:Cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) has the advantage of rapid expression of proteins and has been widely implemented in synthetic biology and protein engineering. However, the critical problem limiting CFPS industrial application is its relatively high cost, which partly attributes to the overexpense of single-use DNA templates. Hydrogels provide a possible solution because they can preserve and reutilize the DNA templates in CFPS and have great potential in elevating the protein production yield of the CFPS. Here, we presented a low-cost hybrid hydrogel simply prepared with polyethylene glycol diacrylate (PEGDA) and DNA, which is capable of high-efficient and repeated protein synthesis in CFPS. Parameters governing protein production specific to hybrid hydrogels were optimized. Structures and physical properties of the hybrid hydrogel were characterized. Transcription and expression kinetics of solution phase system and gel phased systems were investigated. The results showed that PEGDA/DNA hydrogel can enhance the protein expression of the CFPS system and enable a repeated protein production for tens of times. This PEGDA/DNA hybrid hydrogel can serve as a recyclable gene carrier for either batch or continuous protein expression, and paves a path toward more powerful, scalable protein production and cell-free synthetic biology.
Project description:Extracellular vesicles (EVs) have garnered significant interest in the biotechnology field due to their intrinsic therapeutic properties as well as their ability to serve as vehicles for bioactive cargo. However, the lack of an established biomanufacturing platform and limited potency of EVs in vivo remain critical bottlenecks for clinical translation. In this study, we utilized a 3D-printed scaffold-perfusion bioreactor system to assess the response of dynamic culture on extracellular vesicle production from endothelial cells (ECs). We also investigated whether ethanol conditioning, which was previously shown to enhance vascularization bioactivity of EC-derived EVs produced in standard 2D culture conditions, could be employed successfully for the same purpose in a 3D production system. Our results indicate that dynamic culture in a perfusion bioreactor significantly enhances EV production from human ECs. Moreover, the use of ethanol conditioning in conjunction with dynamic culture induces pro-vascularization bioactivity of EC-derived EVs that is correlated with increased EV levels of pro-angiogenic lncRNAs HOTAIR and MALAT1. Thus, this study represents one of the first reports of rationally-designed EV potency enhancement that is conserved between static 2D and dynamic 3D EV production systems, increasing the potential for scalable biomanufacturing of therapeutic EC-derived EVs for a variety of applications. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Extracellular vesicles (EVs) have substantial therapeutic potential in a variety of applications. However, translation of EV-based therapies may be hindered by biomanufacturing challenges. EV production to date has predominantly involved the use of tissue culture flasks. Here, we report, for the first time, the use of a tubular perfusion bioreactor system with an integrated 3D-printed biomaterial scaffold for EV production from human endothelial cells. This system increases EV yield by over 100-fold compared to conventional tissue culture systems. Further, we show that an ethanol-conditioning approach that our group previously developed in 2D culture for enhancing EV potency is compatible with this new system. Thus, potency enhancement of EVs for vascularization applications is possible even with significantly increased production rate.