Scientists from Synthetic Genomics (SGI) say they have developed and engineered Vibrio natriegens into a next-generation biotechnology host organism VmaxTM. 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, i.e., recombinant protein expression and molecular cloning. These advances 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.

The paper describing this work is the first peer-reviewed publication of its kind and was published online today in Nature Methods by Matthew T. Weinstock, Eric D. Hesek, Christopher M. Wilson, and Daniel G. Gibson.

“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, vp, DNA technologies, SGI.

“Despite the known drawbacks and shortcomings, scientists have used E. coli as a laboratory host out of necessity primarily because there have been no suitable alternatives,” pointed out Todd Peterson, CTO at SGI. “We deployed our synthetic biology expertise to develop a new host strain that will drastically improve upon these traditional methods and tools.”

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