We all know that proteins are vital in maintaining health and well-being. They are essential for the growth, repair, and general maintenance of our body tissues. Proteins are also one of the three macromolecules found in every human cell. No wonder they are the subject of research and development in the medical, pharmaceutical, and several other fields.
Hence, in recent years, custom protein synthesis has become an essential service in these industries. This post provides a complete overview and the application of this service.
What is Custom Protein Synthesis?
This is a biotechnological process that has been in use since the 1970s. Custom protein synthesis is the process of chemically synthesizing proteins, peptides, and other organic compounds which the customer has specified. In recent years, more and more research centers are joining this race to push their boundaries further into various fields of science. Several factors influence a protein’s final properties, including the sequence, folding, expression system, and post-translational modifications.
Procedures in Custom Protein Synthesis
There are many procedures involved in this type of synthesis, including the following:
The first step is to design your sequence. You can do this by inputting the amino acids that you want in the protein, or you can use a template sequence.
Transcription, translation, and PTM
Once you have designed your sequence, it is time for transcription, translation, and post-translational modification (PTM). Transcription is when DNA is copied from RNA into RNA molecules called messenger RNA (mRNA). In translation, mRNA molecules are decoded by ribosomes into polypeptides with specific amino acid sequences determined by the genetic code contained within them. This process is called translation because it involves moving from one compartment to another and means “to change place” in Latin. Post-translational modification refers to any changes made by enzymes after the translation has occurred.
Applications of Custom Protein Synthesis
Customized protein synthesis has plenty of applications in today’s world, including the following:
One of the most critical applications of custom protein synthesis is in vaccine production for many infectious diseases, such as hepatitis B and C, HIV, SARS, and Ebola. The ability to create custom vaccines that protect against specific conditions is one of the most significant benefits of this technology. Because vaccines are generally made from live viruses, there are risks associated with their use. Customized vaccines eliminate these risks because they are created using synthetic DNA sequences which do not contain any live viruses.
Engineering of Therapeutics And Diagnostics
Custom protein synthesis can also be used to engineer therapeutic or diagnostic agents for treating diseases. These are much more effective than their natural equivalents. This is because a protein’s sequence of amino acids can be engineered to bind with a specific antigen or enzyme, allowing it to target and destroy cancer cells or bacteria. This requires designing an appropriate protein sequence based on the target disease and its characteristics.
Protein Function Studies
The ability to synthesize proteins with specific amino acid sequences allows researchers to study protein function in greater detail. Protein function studies can be performed using both synthetic and natural peptides. Peptides are often used as a tool to study protein function because they can be designed to mimic the structure of the target protein. By studying the effect of peptide binding, researchers can gain insight into how the protein might behave in its native state.
For example, researchers can use custom protein synthesis to produce a mutant version of an enzyme known to be defective in a disease state. The mutant enzyme can then be studied to determine its role in the disease and how it may be targeted for therapy.
Antibody Discovery And Development
Custom Protein Synthesis is used in the development of antibodies, which are proteins that bind to and recognize specific molecules. Antibodies are used as tools for research, diagnostics, and therapeutics.
Rational Drug Design & Drug Discovery Development
Custom Protein Synthesis is also used in drug discovery, where researchers use computer modeling to design new drugs based on existing drugs or proteins from nature. These drugs can then be tested in the lab before being tested in humans.
Structural Characterization Of Proteins And Peptides
Custom protein synthesis is also used for the structural characterization of proteins and peptides. For example, scientists must first determine its amino acid sequence when they want to know the three-dimensional structure of a particular protein or peptide. The structures of proteins and peptides can be determined by X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, and other experimental techniques. Custom protein synthesis allows researchers to create new peptides that can be tested for their structure-function relationship. Pharmaceutical companies use this technique to identify candidate drugs and determine their properties for potential therapeutic use.
To sum up, custom protein synthesis has become a promising and exciting drug discovery path. While technology is still developing, trends show it will be beneficial over the coming years. Next-generation protein technology will enable researchers to make drugs against previously impossible targets, or even whole pathways or cell types—tools that have been vital for fighting challenging diseases for decades.