Enzyme Evolution and Engineering

How Our Technology Improves Enzyme Evolution and Engineering

Enzymes are commonly engineered to produce the most active, efficient and specific variants possible for a wide range of applications in a range of industries (e.g. chemical, pharmaceutical, fuel, agriculture, cosmetics etc.). This process has historically involved screening billions of clones. Over twenty years ago, enzyme evolution was used to more rapidly direct the evolution of high performance enzymes by focussing on an enzyme’s key areas or ‘hotspots’. This enabled researchers to reduce library sizes to tens of millions of clones. With the introduction of synthetic biology techniques, this number has been even further reduced to tens to hundreds of thousands of clones.

When you combine these industry advances with our technology, you can increase screening throughput to engineer enzymes in an even faster and more cost-efficient way, regardless of whether you are using directed evolution or the latest genetic engineering and synthetic biology techniques.

Enzyme analysis

The Unique Benefits of Our Systems for Enzyme Evolution and Engineering

One of the first ever applications of picodroplets was to study evolved enzymes, so it’s an area where our team has significant expertise. Our technology has two main applications in this area.

The first is the study of single cells engineered to produce enzyme variants, the performance of which can be assayed using fluorescent reporter assays. Using our Cyto-Mine® system, ultra-high throughput processes can be used to measure extracellular or cell-associated products. The use of picodroplets means that the assays are miniaturised, saving on reagents and minimising costs.

The second is the screening of engineered cell libraries for products using a label-free technique, specifically mass spectrometry (MS). By its very nature, MS destroys each test sample. To overcome this, our ESI-Mine™ system effectively splits each picodroplet into two and accurately tracks every sample and its replicate. This means that the living sample can be safely recovered should the MS suggest it is worth further study. In this case, our technology enables high-throughput (200,000 samples a day compared to 1-10,000, as is usual when using other techniques). As it is label-free, it can offer significant cost and time-savings since no ‘artificial’ assays have to be developed. MS also provides a host of additional information about other molecules(s) being produced.

Picodroplet technology compared to microplate

Our Systems in Action for Enzyme Evolution and Engineering

Our systems offer a rapid and simple workflow for improving enzyme performance via directed evolution or synthetic biology. The typical process is outlined in the accompanying graphic. To find out more about how you could utilise our technology in your lab, please get in touch.

Enzyme analysis workflow

Committed to Responsible Synthetic Biology

Please note, Sphere Fluidics subscribes to the ethos of a Responsible Innovation Framework for our work in the Synthetic Biology area. We have consulted with UK experts and advisory bodies in the synthetic biology area and are continuing to improve our approach to Responsible Innovation.

We examine ethical, social and regulatory issues and only approve synthetic biology projects that generate products and services that benefit society and/or human wellbeing, make a positive contribution to the environment and that promote sound practices in employment, business behaviour and ethics.

For more information, please see here: http://synbicite.com/content-panels/responsible-innovation/