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Engineering of the cellular quality control systems in bacillus subtilis for the production of high value-added proteins

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Improving cell-based protein 'factories'

Developments in biotechnology have allowed researchers to utilise 'natural' methods for the production of high quality, high value-added proteins with a variety of applications. The BACELL FACTORY project focused on the optimisation of cell-based protein production systems.

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One of the most widely used bacterial protein production systems is the Bacillus subtilis species. The theory behind the use of bacteria, instead of complex industrial processes, for the production of complex proteins underlines the relative simplicity of the approach. Bacteria contain the molecular machinery necessary to synthesize, modify, fold and secrete proteins. These functions render them ideal one-stop production facilities for enzymes and other proteins. Bacillus subtilis bacteria have been very well characterised and therefore knowledge of their protein synthesis process is well known. The BACELL FACTORY project aimed to create efficient cellular systems able to produce high yields of desired proteins. One of the main obstacles to overcome is the identification and isolation of the protein product from the cellular mix post-production. For this purpose, researchers created six new plasmid vectors allowing tags to be added to any Bacillus subtilis protein. Plasmid vectors can be briefly defined as exogenous genetic material introduced to cells and affecting internal gene expression. In this case, the added tags allow detection by commercially available antibodies and purification kits. Marketing efforts are already underway and these vectors could greatly enhance final purified protein yields and greatly improve upon current methods. The researchers are keen to collaborate on the marketing of the product and on the expansion of this line of research.

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