Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

A flexible tool for protein characterisation tasks

Recent breakthroughs in molecular biology and biotechnology have resulted in accumulating amounts of data about gene structure and expression. Full exploitation of these data demands the development of adequate high-throughput protein technology equipment. The M.I.E.R. instrument has been designed to meet this emerging demand.
A flexible tool for protein characterisation tasks
In the last twenty years, the application and the evolution of molecular biology techniques combined with the advances of the information technology have yielded enormous amounts of data. We might actually know a lot about one gene’s structure and organization but we will not know enough about it, before we are able to isolate and test the function of its corresponding protein product. It should be noted that although there is an increased interest in patenting gene sequences, the main commercial interest of these patents lies on the produced proteins of those genes and their potential applications.

The research in DNA has been boosted, with the development of appropriate techniques and equipment. Now the interest of researchers begins to move from genomics (the study of the gene relations) to proteomics (the study of the protein relations) and it will soon be regarded as the mainstream research topic. Protein characterisation has been regarded for years as the most elaborate laboratory step in molecular research. It involves the isolation of the protein, its purification and the determination of its structure and function.

The M.I.E.R. (Multicompartment-Immobilised Enzyme Reactor) apparatus has been designed to overcome the major “bottlenecks” in protein research that are the isolation and purification steps of the desired protein molecules. It has the potential to significantly increase output and consequently decrease the costs. Its operational principle uses electric fields and pH gradient, to keep the protein of interest, immobilised while in soluble and active form. At the same time any charged product, co-factor or substrates can be easily directed towards or away from the immobilised protein. The temperature of the reaction can be adjusted between 8 and 48 oC making the use of the instrument, suitable for almost any kind of bio-reaction of interest.

There is a wide range of potential applications of the M.I.E.R. instrument including biotechnology, ecotoxicology, pharmacology and medical research. Its high-throughput potential in testing enzymatic reactions will be useful to all scientists involved in protein characterisation and function testing.
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