Blue Heron Biotechnology, Inc. has announced that it has been awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovative Research grant from the National Institute of General Medical Science and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.
The grant funds development of molecular biological tools to enable research on genes that are difficult to grow in bacteria.
Blue Heron claims that, if successful, these technologies will improve Blue Heron Biotechnology's GeneMaker® gene synthesis service and may be available as kits to modulate protein expression levels in E. coli.
Based on this extensive experience, Blue Heron Bio found that a small fraction of recombinant genes are unstable in E. coli and thus difficult to manipulate using the standard techniques of molecular biology.
Many of these genes encode proteins that slow or prevent bacterial growth even when expressed at very low levels.
For instance, only a few molecules of specific proteases, RNAses or ion channels can severely disrupt the growth or survival of a bacterial cell.
"The set of tools under development at Blue Heron Bio will block functional protein expression and allow the propagation of recombinant plasmids using standard, high-copy vectors, potentially replacing the need for special growth conditions, low-copy vectors, special bacterial strains and other non-standard techniques. This will expand research on genes that are difficult to propagate in bacteria," explained Dr. John Mulligan, President and CEO.