by Tryammbak Kansal
Proteins are complex substances made up of long polypeptide chains present in our body. They are responsible for all the major developments achieved in synthetic biology such as synthetic gene circuits, developing antibiotics to inhibit a special type of cancer using designer protein (IL-2 cytokine based drugs), cell-based therapies, etc.
The major reason to use proteins in synthetic biology is that they can incorporate several distinct functions into a single multi-domain protein which helps us to achieve better efficiency and functionality. We can combine proteins by fusing similar characterized protein domains and it is used as a standard practice to create artificial transcription factors. Whenever protein binds to a specific DNA it can lead to either transactivating or trans-silencing of transcription factors and if it depends on the presence of small molecules then this can be used to implement gene switches that will work as a sensor. Different techniques can be employed in protein engineering and some of these are:- 1. Rational protein designing:- It is considered as the most supreme protein engineering designing technique. In this protein design algorithms have been applied to engineer proteins so that they can fold faster, catalyze faster, etc. The rational designing consists of site-directed mutagenesis ( a process to alter the genetic information with the help of mutations).The main disadvantage of Rational techniques is that we currently have a limited understanding of protein folding. 2. Random mutagenesis:- It is one of the most powerful techniques that can be used to tailor-made enzymes for a wide range of biocatalytic applications. In this method, we generally use iterative cycles of mutagenesis to modify protein properties. But this method is also not effective as mutagenesis can generate a large number of libraries. Protein engineering is the field of inconceivable potential.Many modern techniques such as LDM Technology, Reactivity hotspot technology are developed to have more advancements in the field of biological sciences.