The expression of soluble, functional protein on a preparative scale poses a central challenge for structural studies. Cell-free protein expression has become a valuable alternative to cell-based methods, and allows today the expression of milligram quantities of protein. Its use is particularly attractive for NMR studies as it allows a multitude of isotopic labeling schemes. We have implemented and further developed protocols to prepare cell-free extracts from wheat germ to produce recombinant protein for solid-state NMR studies. Furthermore, we established the Renilla luciferase model to optimise and evaluate extract quality, and report first productions of the prions Ure2p and HET-s devoted to structural studies currently ongoing in our laboratories.
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