Researchers from Synthetic Genomics has announced the development and extensive engineering of Vibrio natriegens into a next-generation biotechnology host organism Vmax™. Looking to accelerate the pace of discovery and the path to sustainable solutions, the team set out to develop a novel bacterial host that will drastically reduce the amount of time scientists spend on each experiment and workflow and to enhance productivity of the resulting new host.
After screening for the fastest-growing strain and optimizing methods for introducing DNA into those cells at high efficiencies, the team developed genome engineering tools to improve the performance of Vmax™ for common biotech applications, namely, recombinant protein expression and molecular cloning. These breakthroughs build on expertise gleaned during the creation of the first synthetic cell and first minimal cell and again position SGI at the forefront of synthetic biology.
“This work provides a game-changing alternative to E. coli, the organism that has been a laboratory staple for decades, and again highlights the rapid and innovative synthetic biology expertise we’ve developed at SGI. We are in the process of designing and synthesizing new Vmax™ cells that operate at even higher efficiencies and productivity as we move toward a next-generation host for protein production”, said Daniel Gibson, Vice President, DNA Technologies, SGI.
Commenting on the origin of the research, Todd Peterson, Chief Technology Officer at SGI stated, “Despite the known drawbacks and shortcomings, scientists have been necessitated to use E. coli as a laboratory host primarily because there have been no suitable alternatives. We deployed our synthetic biology expertise to develop a new host strain that will drastically improve upon the traditional methods and tools.”
Typical cloning projects using E. coli competent cells span several days starting from the time a cloning process is initiated to the time plasmid DNA is prepared. Cloning strategies employing Vmax™ developed by the SGI team shorten that time to as little as one day.
The advancements described by the team set the stage for commercialization of these next-generation cells for cloning and protein expression by SGI in the coming months. Vmax™ is compatible with most kits, reagents, growth medium, vectors, and procedures already entrenched in laboratories. Making these cells commercially available will accelerate the pace of global biotechnological research, making a far-reaching and lasting impact toward genetic exploration and discovery worldwide.