Research and Development 100 Award for A New Method that Simplifies Protein Production

Jul 28, 2004

F. William Studier, a biophysicist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, has won a 2004 Research and Development 100 award for developing a new process that simplifies the production of proteins in the widely used T7 gene expression system. The T7 expression system, developed and patented at Brookhaven Lab in the 1980s and 1990s, is used worldwide by academia and industry to produce specific proteins within bacterial cells.

R&D 100 Awards are given annually by R&D Magazine to the top 100 technological achievements of the year. Typically, these are innovations that transform basic science into useful products. The awards will be presented in Chicago on October 14.

Studier's new method simplifies the production of many proteins in parallel. Proteins do most of the work in biological systems. They digest food for energy; build biological structures, such as muscles and neurons; and regulate biological functioning, for example, by hormones. The Human Genome Project and other genome sequencing projects are revealing the full complement of human proteins and the proteins of many other organisms. Expression systems such as the T7 system allow biologists and medical scientists to obtain useful amounts of individual proteins for analyzing their structures and functions.

Commercially available through EMD Biosciences, Novagen brand, as the Overnight Express™ Autoinduction System, the new method relies on mechanisms by which bacteria sense the presence of nutrients in their surroundings and select which ones to use. An appropriate mixture of nutrients allows the bacteria to grow vigorously and then, at the appropriate stage of growth, switch automatically to producing the target protein without any intervention by the experimenter. The new method will be useful for biomedical research or for industrial production of proteins to use as enzymes, diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics and targets for developing pharmaceuticals.

"The new autoinduction system is very convenient," Studier said. "Instead of spending much of the day monitoring the growth of many different cultures to get optimum conditions for producing proteins, we simply inoculate cultures late in the day, let autoinduction do the work for us, and collect our proteins the next morning. An added bonus is that we usually get much more protein."

Studier started his research on T7 — a common bacteria-eating virus — when he first joined Brookhaven Lab in 1964. "The T7 expression system came out of basic research," Studier said, "and the autoinduction system is also an application of basic knowledge. As so often happens, basic research led to useful applications in unexpected ways.”

Studier's research is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Biological and Environmental Research within the Office of Science, and by the Protein Structure Initiative of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health as part of the New York Structural Genomics Research Consortium.

Source: Brookhaven National Laboratory

Explore further: New insights found in black hole collisions

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Color-coading gene sequences in human cells

Mar 04, 2015

(Phys.org)—Is there a way to peer inside the nucleus of a living cell and see how the genes interact? After the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2001, researchers have focused on epigenetic factors, ...

Characterizing permafrost microbes in a changing climate

Mar 04, 2015

In the effort to curb climate change by reducing global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, thawing permafrost poses a critical challenge. These reservoirs of frozen organic matter embedded in Arctic soils are ...

Recommended for you

New insights found in black hole collisions

Mar 27, 2015

New research provides revelations about the most energetic event in the universe—the merging of two spinning, orbiting black holes into a much larger black hole.

X-rays probe LHC for cause of short circuit

Mar 27, 2015

The LHC has now transitioned from powering tests to the machine checkout phase. This phase involves the full-scale tests of all systems in preparation for beam. Early last Saturday morning, during the ramp-down, ...

Swimming algae offer insights into living fluid dynamics

Mar 27, 2015

None of us would be alive if sperm cells didn't know how to swim, or if the cilia in our lungs couldn't prevent fluid buildup. But we know very little about the dynamics of so-called "living fluids," those ...

First glimpse inside a macroscopic quantum state

Mar 27, 2015

In a recent study published in Physical Review Letters, the research group led by ICREA Prof at ICFO Morgan Mitchell has detected, for the first time, entanglement among individual photon pairs in a beam ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.