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DNA2.0 partners with Newcastle U on B. subtillis system
January 2013
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MENLO PARK, Calif.—DNA2.0 last month announced a collaboration with Newcastle University to develop a protein expression system for Bacillus subtillis, with DNA2.0's GeneGPS gene optimization technology serving as the basis for the development of enhanced gene synthesis algorithms for the bacterium.  
 
The system will further the work of NewCastle Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology and School of Computing Science Prof. Anil Wipat on the synthetic biology applications of B. subtillis, the chief production host for industrial enzyme manufacturing and a dominant bacterial workhorse for microbial fermentations.  
 
Industrial applications include production of amylases, proteases, inosine, ribosides and amino acids. The organism, which is considered safe for humans, is also key to the production of soya-based natto production in Japan. The understanding of the molecular biology and physiology of this important gram- positive model organism is second only to Escherichia coli. This makes B. subtillis an ideal host for industrial synthetic biology.  
 
"Professor Wipat's lab at Newcastle is producing some of the most important research in synthetic biology today, and we are excited to be collaborating with him," said Dr. Jeremy Minshull, cofounder and CEO of DNA2.0, in a press release. "By combining our patented GeneGPS technology—which has been proven to increase protein expression up to 100-fold—with Newcastle's deep experience with B. subtillis, I'm confident that we will develop a best-in-class solution for this important bacterium for industrial biotechnology."  
 
In addition to developing a robust expression system for B. subtillis, the two organizations expect that the gene design algorithms that they develop will be likely to mimic related gram positives that are also very popular in industrial biotechnology. Industrially important organisms such as Clostridium, Lactobacillus and Geobacillus share similarities with B. subtilis in their development and genetics. As a result, the knowledge gained from optimizing expression for this organism promises to be more widely applicable in an industrial context, according to the partners.

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