"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!
How do muscles know what time it is?
21.08.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates
20.08.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden
There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.
The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
21.08.2018 | Materials Sciences
20.08.2018 | Information Technology
20.08.2018 | Life Sciences