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The automated high throughput gene to crystal pipeline accomplished -- a new breakthrough in instrument innovation at IBP

Author: Update time: 2009-09-16
On May 11, 2009, an automated pipeline from gene cloning to protein crystal designed and constructed by Professor Zhi-Jie Liu and other IBP researchers passed the technical evaluation of an expert group of Chinese Academy of Sciences.
In the study of protein structure and function, from selection of the target protein to structural analysis, a series of complex procedures are involved. The major steps include complete gene cloning, soluble expression profiling, protein expression and purification, protein crystallization, diffraction data acquisition and structural analysis, and so on. The protein production and crystallization are commonly recognized as the main bottlenecks constraining the study of protein structure and function. It has been realized that simple scale up of the small scale operation could not solve problem while the automated pipeline by integrating the state of art technology and methods is the key to success. The integration and construction of the automated pipeline from cloning to crystal is a quite challenging task because it involves many diverse technologies such as automation, liquid handling, molecular biology, biochemistry, computer science, database, etc.
Making full use of existing instruments at IBP, the "automated high-throughput gene to crystal pipeline" integrates "automated gene cloning and plasmid preparation device" and "automated protein expression and detection system" using F3 Track Robot6 joint mechanical arm, FXp automated liquid handling workstations, Varioskan spectral scans multi-function readout instrument, Cytomat cell incubator, PlateWasher, Plate Sealer, PCR instrument and other advanced equipments. Up to now, a series of experiments had been completed and obtained satisfactory results using the automated pipeline.
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