Menlo Park, Calif., November 29, 2012—DNA2.0, the leading bioengineering solutions provider, today announced a research collaboration with Newcastle University to develop a protein expression system for Bacillus subtillis. Professor Anil Wipat and his colleagues at Newcastle’s Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology and School of Computing Science have undertaken key research on the synthetic biology applications of B. subtillis, and DNA2.0 and Newcastle intend to leverage their synergies in computational design and the development of industrially relevant bacterial strains. DNA2.0’s GeneGPS™ gene optimization technology will serve as a basis for the development of enhanced gene synthesis algorithms for the bacterium.
B. subtillis is the chief production host for industrial enzyme manufacturing and a dominant bacterial workhorse for microbial fermentations. Industrial applications include production of amylases, proteases, inosine, ribosides and amino acids. The organism, which is considered safe for humans, is also key to the production of soya-based natto production in Japan. The understanding of the molecular biology and physiology of this important gram-positive model organism is second only to Escherichia coli. This makes B. subtillis an ideal host for industrial synthetic biology.
“Professor Wipat’s lab at Newcastle is producing some of the most important research in synthetic biology today, and we are excited to be collaborating with him,” said Jeremy Minshull, PhD., cofounder and CEO of DNA2.0. “By combining our patented GeneGPS technology—which has been proven to increase protein expression up to 100-fold—with Newcastle’s deep experience with B. subtillis, I’m confident that we will develop a best-in-class solution for this important bacterium for industrial biotechnology.”
In addition to developing a robust expression system for B. subtillis, the two organizations expect that the gene design algorithms that they develop will be likely to mimic related gram positives that are also very popular in industrial biotechnology. Industrially important organisms such as Clostridium, Lactobacillus and Geobacillus share similarities with B. subtilis in their development and genetics. As a result, the knowledge gained from optimizing expression for this organism promises to be more widely applicable in an industrial context.
“We are thrilled to be able to apply DNA2.0’s experience developing protein expression systems for a wide range of hosts to B. subtillis,” said Professor Anil Wipat. “This system will not only benefit the substantial critical mass of Bacillus researchers at Newcastle but will help provide a foundational technology for the synthetic biology of this organism both in the UK and at an international level. The outputs of the project fit clearly with the aims of the UK Flower’s consortium (Newcastle University, Imperial College London, The University of Edinburgh, University of Cambridge and King’s College London). The Flower’s project, in which Newcastle has a key role in industrial chassis development, has a special focus on Bacillus and is producing systems to promote industrial synthetic biology in the UK.”
About Newcastle’s School of Computing Science
The School of Computing Science is one of the leading centres for research in computing science in the UK. The school carries out fundamental computing science research which is evaluated and extended through application to industrial and interdisciplinary challenges. Interdisciplinary research in the biological sciences is lead by the Biology, Neuroscience and Computing Group, with six strong academic teams. Bioinformatics and development of computational approaches to the design of biological systems is a major strength within this group and the school more widely.
About Newcastle’s Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology
The Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology was set up by Prof. Jeff Errington in 2007 and is the world’s first major research centre for the study of the molecular and cellular biology of bacterial cells. With over 20 groups of researchers, the Centre is also one of the world’s largest groupings of scientists working on the tractable model organism B. subtilis. This unrivaled expertise in the centre has paved the way for the establishment of the CBCB as a centre of excellence for the synthetic biology of the genus Bacillus and its relatives.
DNA2.0 is the leading bioengineering solutions provider. Founded in 2003, DNA2.0 offers an integrated pipeline of solutions for the research community, including gene design, optimization, synthesis and cloning, as well as platforms for protein and strain engineering. It is the fastest provider of synthetic genes—based in the US with a global customer base encompassing academia, government and the pharmaceutical, chemical, agricultural and biotechnology industries. DNA2.0 is by far the most published synthetic gene vendor, providing expert support to and collaboration with scientists. DNA2.0 explores novel applications for synthetic genes and is exploiting the synergy between highly efficient gene design and synthesis processes and new protein optimization technologies. DNA2.0’s tools and solutions are fueling the transformation of biology from a discovery science to an engineering discipline. The company is privately held and is headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif. For more information, please visit www.DNA20.com.