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Concept: Recombinant DNA


Escherichia coli is most widely used prokaryotic expression system for the production of recombinant proteins. Several strategies have been employed for expressing recombinant proteins in E.coli. This includes the development of novel host systems, expression vectors and cost effective media. In this study, we exploit tender coconut water (TCW) as a natural and cheaper growth medium for E.coli and Pichia pastoris.Result: E.coli and P.pastoris were cultivated in TCW and the growth rate was monitored by measuring optical density at 600nm (OD600nm), where 1.55 for E.coli and 8.7 for P.pastoris was obtained after 12 and 60 hours, respectively. However, variation in growth rate was observed among TCW when collected from different localities (0.15-2.5 at OD600nm), which is attributed to the varying chemical profile among samples. In this regard, we attempted the supplementation of TCW with different carbon and nitrogen sources to attain consistency in growth rate. Here, supplementation of TCW with 25mM ammonium sulphate (TCW-S) was noted efficient for the normalization of inconsistency, which further increased the biomass of E.coli by 2 to 10 folds, and 1.5 to 2 fold in P.pastoris. These results indicate that nitrogen source is the major limiting factor for growth. This was supported by total nitrogen and carbon estimation where, nitrogen varies from 20 to 60mg/100ml while carbohydrates showed no considerable variation (2.32 to 3.96 g/100 ml). In this study, we also employed TCW as an expression media for recombinant proteins by demonstrating successful expression of maltose binding protein (MBP), MBP-TEV protease fusion and a photo switchable fluorescent protein (mEos2) using TCW and the expression level was found to be equivalent to Luria Broth (LB).

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Oxygen, Bacteria, Recombinant DNA, Escherichia coli, Nitrogen, Coconut


We previously reported that the SbROMT3syn recombinant protein catalyzes the production of the methylated resveratrol derivatives pinostilbene and pterostilbene by methylating substrate resveratrol in recombinant E. coli. To further study the production of stilbene compounds in E. coli by the expression of enzymes involved in stilbene biosynthesis, we isolated three stilbene synthase (STS) genes from rhubarb, peanut, and grape as well as two resveratrol O-methyltransferase (ROMT) genes from grape and sorghum. The ability of RpSTS to produce resveratrol in recombinant E. coli was compared with other AhSTS and VrSTS genes. Out of three STS, only AhSTS was able to produce resveratrol from p-coumaric acid. Thus, to improve the solubility of RpSTS, VrROMT, and SbROMT3 in E. coli, we synthesized the RpSTS, VrROMT and SbROMT3 genes following codonoptimization and expressed one or both genes together with the cinnamate/4-coumarate:coenzyme A ligase (CCL) gene from Streptomyces coelicolor. Our HPLC and LC-MS analyses showed that recombinant E. coli expressing both ScCCL and RpSTSsyn led to the production of resveratrol when p-coumaric acid was used as the precursor. In addition, incorporation of SbROMT3syn in recombinant E. coli cells produced resveratrol and its mono-methylated derivative, pinostilbene, as the major products from p-coumaric acid. However, very small amounts of pterostilbene were only detectable in the recombinant E. coli cells expressing the ScCCL, RpSTSsyn and SbROMT3syn genes. These results suggest that RpSTSsyn exhibits an enhanced enzyme activity to produce resveratrol and SbROMT3syn catlyazes the methylation of resveratrol to produce pinostilbene in E. coli cells.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Genetics, Gene expression, Bacteria, Enzyme, Recombinant DNA, Escherichia coli


Lactococcus lactis is a Gram-positive (endotoxin-free) food-grade bacteria exploited as alternative to Escherichia coli for recombinant protein production. We have explored here for the first time the ability of this platform as producer of complex, self-assembling protein materials.

Concepts: DNA, Bacteria, Gut flora, Recombinant DNA, Escherichia coli, Biotechnology, Proteobacteria, Genetic recombination


β-Galactosidase encoded by lacZ remains a popular reporter enzyme. Here, we present three fast and convenient tools that facilitate rapid construction of reporter lacZ fusions. The first enables the simple generation of lacZ (slacZ)-based chromosomally encoded reporter fusions within the lac operon in Escherichia coli using Red®/ET® recombination. The slacZ tool is based on rpsL counter-selection in combination with homologous recombination catalyzed by the λ Red recombinase, and blue/white screening. This permits construction of transcriptional and translational reporter lacZ fusions within a day. The second tool allows the introduction of lacZ reporter fusions into the chromosome by a single-crossover method. The strategy relies on the γ-origin-based suicide vector pNPTS138-R6KT, which can only replicate in λpir E. coli strains. The third tool comprises four pBBR1-based broad-host-range vectors for transcriptional and translational lacZ fusions. The functionality of our toolbox was confirmed by the K(+)-dependent activation of kdp promoter-lacZ fusions in vivo.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Bacteria, Recombinant DNA, Escherichia coli, Lac operon, Operon, Jacques Monod


Background: Patients with mutations or deletions of the SHOX gene present variable growth impairment, with or without mesomelic skeletal dysplasia. If untreated, short patients with SHOX haplodeficiency (SHOXD) remain short into adulthood. Although recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) treatment improves short-term linear growth, there are episodic data on the final height of treated SHOXD subjects. Patients & methods: After a thorough search of the published literature for pertinent studies, we undertook a meta-analysis evaluation of the efficacy and safety of rhGH treatment in SHOXD patients. Results: In SHOXD patients, administration of rhGH progressively improved the height deficit from baseline to 24 months, although the major catch-up growth was detected after 12 months. The rhGH-induced growth appeared constant until final height. Conclusion: Our meta-analysis suggested rhGH therapy improves height outcome of SHOXD patients, though future studies using carefully titrated rhGH protocols are needed. Original submitted 29 October 2012; Revision submitted 22 February 2013.

Concepts: Immune system, Recombinant DNA, Growth hormone, Turner syndrome, Endocrine gland, Growth hormone deficiency, Idiopathic short stature


Many prenylated indole derivatives are widely distributed in nature. Recently, two Streptomyces prenyltransferases, IptA and its homolog SCO7467, were identified in the biosynthetic pathways for 6-dimethylallylindole (DMAI)-3-carbaldehyde and 5-DMAI-3-acetonitrile, respectively. Here, we isolated a novel prenylated indole derivative, 3-hydroxy-6-dimethylallylindolin (DMAIN)-2-one, based on systematic purification of metabolites from a rare actinomycete, Actinoplanes missouriensis NBRC 102363. The structure of 3-hydroxy-6-DMAIN-2-one was determined by HR-MS and NMR analyses. We found that A. missouriensis produced not only 3-hydroxy-6-DMAIN-2-one but also 6-dimethylallyltryptophan (DMAT) and 6-DMAI when grown in PYM (peptone-yeast extract-MgSO4) medium. We searched the complete genome of A. missouriensis for biosynthesis genes of these compounds and found a gene cluster composed of an iptA homolog (AMIS_22580, named iptA-Am) and a putative tryptophanase gene (AMIS_22590, named tnaA-Am). We constructed a tnaA-Am-deleted (ΔtnaA-Am) strain and found that it produced 6-DMAT but did not produce 6-DMAI or 3-hydroxy-6-DMAIN-2-one. Exogenous addition of 6-DMAI to mutant ΔtnaA-Am resulted in the production of 3-hydroxy-6-DMAIN-2-one. Furthermore, in vitro enzyme assays using recombinant proteins produced by Escherichia coli demonstrated that 6-DMAI was synthesized from tryptophan and dimethylallyl pyrophosphate in the presence of both IptA-Am and TnaA-Am, and that IptA-Am preferred tryptophan to indole as the substrate. From these results, we concluded that the iptA-Am-tnaA-Am gene cluster is responsible for the biosynthesis of 3-hydroxy-6-DMAIN-2-one. Presumably, tryptophan is converted into 6-DMAT by IptA-Am and 6-DMAT is then converted into 6-DMAI by TnaA-Am. 6-DMAI appears to be converted into 3-hydroxy-6-DMAIN-2-one by the function of some unknown oxidases in A. missouriensis.The Journal of Antibiotics advance online publication, 13 November 2013; doi:10.1038/ja.2013.116.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Bacteria, Metabolism, Genome, Recombinant DNA, Escherichia coli


The burgeoning pipeline for new biologic drugs has increased the need for high-throughput process characterization to efficiently use process development resources. Breakthroughs in highly automated and parallelized upstream process development have led to technologies such as the 250-mL automated mini bioreactor (ambr250™) system. Furthermore, developments in modern design of experiments (DoE) have promoted the use of definitive screening design (DSD) as an efficient method to combine factor screening and characterization. Here we utilize the 24-bioreactor ambr250 system with 10-factor DSD to demonstrate a systematic experimental workflow to efficiently characterize an Escherichia coli (E. coli) fermentation process for recombinant protein production. The generated process model is further validated by laboratory-scale experiments and shows how the strategy is useful for quality by design (QbD) approaches to control strategies for late-stage characterization. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Recombinant DNA, Model organism, Escherichia coli, Biotechnology, Experiment, Enterobacteriaceae, All rights reserved, Copyright


Background: Recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) is being used to promote linear growth in short children with Noonan syndrome. However, its efficacy is still controversial. Aims: To systematically determine the impact of rhGH therapy on adult height in children with Noonan syndrome. Methods: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, ISI Web of Science, MEDLINE, and the bibliographic references from all retrieved articles published until April 2014. Studies reporting adult/near-adult height in children with Noonan syndrome treated with rhGH or reporting at least a 3-year follow-up were analysed. Quality and strength of recommendation were assessed according to the Endocrine Society criteria. Results: No controlled trials reporting adult height were available. Five studies were identified reporting adult height or near adult height. Data comparison showed inter-individual variability in the response to rhGH, mean height gain standard deviation score ranging between 0.6 and 1.4 according to national standards, and between 0.6 and 2 according to Noonan standards. Significant biases affected all the studies. Conclusions: High-quality controlled trials on the impact of rhGH therapy on adult height are lacking, and the robustness of available data is not sufficient to recommend such therapy in children with Noonan syndrome. © 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Concepts: Immune system, Recombinant DNA, Endocrinology, Growth hormone, Turner syndrome, Somatostatin, Endocrine gland, Anterior pituitary


Over the last three decades, monoclonal antibodies have become the most important class of therapeutic biologicals on the market. Development of therapeutic antibodies was accelerated by recombinant DNA technologies, which allowed the humanization of murine monoclonal antibodies to make them more similar to those of the human body and suitable for a broad range of chronic diseases like cancer and autoimmune diseases. In the early 1990s in vitro antibody selection technologies were developed that enabled the discovery of “fully” human antibodies with potentially superior clinical efficacy and lowest immunogenicity.

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Medicine, Clinical trial, Recombinant DNA, Immunology, Biotechnology, Human body


In this study we have employed metabolomics approaches to understand the metabolic effects of producing enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) as a recombinant protein in Escherichia coli cells. This metabolic burden analysis was performed against a number of recombinant expression systems and control strains and included: (i) standard transcriptional recombinant expression control system BL21(DE3) with the expression plasmid pET-eGFP, (ii) the recently developed dual transcriptional-translational recombinant expression control strain BL21(IL3), with pET-eGFP, (iii) BL21(DE3) with an empty expression plasmid pET, (iv) BL21(IL3) with an empty expression plasmid, and (v) BL21(DE3) without an expression plasmid; all strains were cultured under various induction conditions. The growth profiles of all strains together with the results gathered by the analysis of the Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy data, identified IPTG-dependent induction as the dominant factor hampering cellular growth and metabolism, which was in general agreement with the findings of GC-MS analysis of cell extracts and media samples. In addition, the exposure of host cells to the synthetic inducer ligand, pyrimido[4,5-d] pyrimidine-2,4-diamine (PPDA), of the orthogonal riboswitch containing expression system (BL21(IL3)) did not display any detrimental effects, and its detected levels in all the samples were at similar levels, emphasising the inability of the cells to metabolise PPDA. The overall results obtained in this study suggested that although the BL21(DE3)-EGFP and BL21(IL3)-EGFP strains produced comparable levels of recombinant eGFP, the presence of the orthogonal riboswitch seemed to be moderating the metabolic burden of eGFP production in the cells enabling higher biomass yield, whilst providing a greater level of control over protein expression.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Gene expression, Bacteria, Metabolism, Recombinant DNA, Escherichia coli