Recombinant Protein Expression Lab established at CU

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Molecular biologists at Cornell University have established a Recombinant Protein Expression Laboratory with a five-year, $986,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute.

Located in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, the centralized facility will produce proteins for cancer-related research throughout Cornell's Ithaca campus as well as at the Weill Medical College of Cornell and its Tri-Institutional Collaboration partners (Rockefeller University and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center) in New York City.

At first the facility will produce milligram quantities of naturally occurring proteins for structural analysis with X-ray crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), using bacterial (E. coli ) and insect cell systems. Subsequently, as rational design identifies molecular targets to treat disease, the facility can scale up to produce larger quantities of proteins for clinical trials in the Comparative Cancer Program of the College of Veterinary Medicine and at other cancer centers.

Another goal of the new Cornell facility is to move beyond bacterial and insect cell-based production systems to the much more difficult -- but potentially useful -- process with mammalian cells, according to Danny Manor, assistant professor of nutritional sciences and director of the laboratory.

"Biomedical research benefits tremendously from being able to understand the three-dimensional structures of relevant proteins," Manor explains. "Such molecular-level pictures can open the door for educated design of intervention strategies by modifying the protein's biological activity."

But a bottleneck in structural determination of proteins often is the limited supply of highly purified proteins, Manor notes. "A centralized facility, where the necessary resources (equipment, personnel and know-how) are available, achieves three objectives: access for researchers who are not able to prepare such proteins on

Contact: Roger Segelken
Cornell University News Service

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