Engine Out of the Chassis: Cell-Free Protein Synthesis and Its Uses

FEBS Lett. 2014 Jan 21;588(2):261-8. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2013.10.016. Epub 2013 Oct 22.


The translation machinery is the engine of life. Extracting the cytoplasmic milieu from a cell affords a lysate capable of producing proteins in concentrations reaching to tens of micromolar. Such lysates, derivable from a variety of cells, allow the facile addition and subtraction of components that are directly or indirectly related to the translation machinery and/or the over-expressed protein. The flexible nature of such cell-free expression systems, when coupled with high throughput monitoring, can be especially suitable for protein engineering studies, allowing one to bypass multiple steps typically required using conventional in vivo protein expression.

Keywords: Cell-free protein synthesis; High throughput; Transcription; Translation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell-Free System / metabolism
  • Genetic Engineering / methods*
  • Humans
  • Protein Biosynthesis*