Micro bioreactor cultures insect cells at EMBL

TAP Biosystems reports that its Ambr micro bioreactor system is in use at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Grenoble, France, for rapid small-scale parallel expression of human multi-protein complexes using baculovirus.

Ambr bioreactor from Tap has shown it can facilitate small scale rapid parallel production of large sets of multi-protein complexes with baculovirus

The bioreactor is being used by scientists in the Eukaryotic Expression Facility (EEF) for culturing insect cells containing baculovirus expression systems to produce differently engineered human multi-protein complexes for crystallography studies.

These protein complexes are being assessed to determine the architecture of protein cascades and pathways that lead to human disease states.

Researchers at EMBL believe that determining these pathways will ultimately reveal pivotal points where protein complexes could be of interest in drug discovery, or as a novel class of therapeutics.

Dr Imre Berger, EEF group leader, explained: “We use baculovirus because it ensures correct expression and solubility of multi-protein complexes, as well as provides sufficient protein for crystallisation.

“We need to study large numbers of protein complex variants and had been using shake flasks to do this.

“However, this type of manual culture method is not practical for us as it is time consuming and almost impossible to evaluate many variants in parallel.

“So we decided last year to automate the process and when we saw Ambr we realised that the new workstation with active cooling could help to streamline multi-protein expression and accelerate our research.

“Using baculovirus and insect cells is not like working with CHO (Chinese Hamster Ovary) cells.

“The cells require lower growth temperatures, and you have to add baculovirus at a specific time point for successful infection.

“The new version of Ambr overcomes these issues, allowing us to grow our insect cells at 27C and carry out automated virus additions.

“Miniaturising baculovirus expression with the Ambr is now an integral part of the ComplexINC research programme and it will have a significant impact on the pace of our work”.


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