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 Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht The Nagoya Protocol Creates Disadvantages for Many Countries when Applied to Microorganisms
05.12.2016 | Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light

05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>