Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

This faster-growing E. coli strain's a good thing

12.11.2010
A University of Illinois metabolic engineer has improved a strain of E. coli, making it grow faster. Don't worry, he believes his efforts will benefit human health, not decimate it.

"The average person hears E. coli and thinks of E. coli 0157:H7, a microorganism that causes horrific food poisoning, but we've developed a strain of E. coli that is suitable for mass production of high-quality DNA that could be used in vaccines or gene therapy," said Yong-Su Jin, a U of I assistant professor of microbial genomics and a faculty member in its Institute for Genomic Biology.

According to Jin, industrial strains of E. coli have already been used to produce such diverse products as insulin for diabetics, enzymes used in laundry detergent, and polymer substitutes in carpets and plastic.

"E. coli bacteria have contributed vastly to our scientific understanding of genes, proteins, and the genome as a model system of biology research," he added.

Jin worked with E. coli DH5á, a laboratory strain that had excellent potential but grew very slowly.

When scientists began to use E. coli DH5á in biotechnological research years ago, they handicapped it, causing some of the genes to mutate so it would meet the requirements of molecular biology experiments. There was a trade-off, though—the strain's slow growth in minimal media, commonly used in laboratory and industrial fermentations.

"E. coli DH5á has been so popular that scientists have used it to perform most recombinant DNA techniques. But its slow growth has been a critical weakness," Jin noted.

Because scientists had used random mutagenesis, they weren't sure where the mutation that caused the slow growth had occurred. Jin and his colleagues were able to locate and fix the problem.

"We learned that the scientists had unintentionally weakened a key enzyme in a gene in the nucleotide biosynthesis pathway. When we reversed this mutation, the modified strain grew as quickly as other types of E. coli used in industry while retaining the traits that make it useful in scientific experiments," he said.

The beauty of the new strain lies in the purity and abundance of the DNA that it contains, which makes it a candidate for use in important biotechnological applications, he said.

"For example, to make DNA vaccines and perform gene therapy, we need DNA that is extremely clean and pure. The E. coli strain we have developed is an excellent candidate to deliver this high-quality genetic material in large quantities," he said.

The research was published in the Sept. 15 issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Co-authors are Suk-Chae Jung, Ki-Sung Lee, Min-Eui Hong, and Dae Hyuk Kweon of Korea's Sungkyunkwan University; and Chris L. Smith and Gregory Stephanopoulos of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The study was funded by an MIT Energy initiative, a National Science Foundation grant, and a Korea Research Foundation grant.

Phyllis Picklesimer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.illinois.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>