Date: 06 Nov 2009

Strategies for the Cell-Free Expression of Membrane Proteins

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Cell-free expression offers an interesting alternative method to produce membrane proteins in high amounts. Elimination of toxicity problems, reduced proteolytic degradation and a nearly unrestricted option to supply potentially beneficial compounds like cofactors, ligands or chaperones into the reaction are general advantages of cell-free expression systems. Furthermore, the membrane proteins may be translated directly into appropriate hydrophobic and membrane-mimetic surrogates, which might offer significant benefits for the functional folding of the synthesized proteins. Cell-free expression is a rapidly developing and highly versatile technique and several systems of both, prokaryotic and eukaryotic origins, have been established. We provide protocols for the cell-free expression of membrane proteins in different modes including their expression as precipitate as well as their direct synthesis into detergent micelles or lipid bilayers.