Establishing a high yielding streptomyces-based cell-free protein synthesis system

Jian Li, He Wang, Yong Chan Kwon, Michael C. Jewett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) has emerged as a powerful platform for applied biotechnology and synthetic biology, with a range of applications in synthesizing proteins, evolving proteins, and prototyping genetic circuits. To expand the current CFPS repertoire, we report here the development and optimization of a Streptomyces-based CFPS system for the expression of GC-rich genes. By developing a streamlined crude extract preparation protocol and optimizing reaction conditions, we were able to achieve active enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) yields of greater than 50 μg/mL with batch reactions lasting up to 3 h. By adopting a semi-continuous reaction format, the EGFP yield could be increased to 282 ± 8 μg/mL and the reaction time was extended to 48 h. Notably, our extract preparation procedures were robust to multiple Streptomyces lividans and Streptomyces coelicolor strains, although expression yields varied. We show that our optimized Streptomyces lividans system provides benefits when compared to an Escherichia coli-based CFPS system for increasing percent soluble protein expression for four Streptomyces-originated high GC-content genes that are involved in biosynthesis of the nonribosomal peptides tambromycin and valinomycin. Looking forward, we believe that our Streptomyces-based CFPS system will contribute significantly towards efforts to express complex natural product gene clusters (e.g., nonribosomal peptides and polyketides), providing a new avenue for obtaining and studying natural product biosynthesis pathways. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2017;114: 1343–1353.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1343-1353
Number of pages11
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2017


  • Streptomyces
  • cell-free protein synthesis
  • high GC-content genes
  • in vitro transcription and translation
  • natural products
  • synthetic biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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