Fabritius, A., Ng, D., Kist, A.M., Erdogan, M., Portugues, R., and Griesbeck, O.
Cell Chem Biol, 2018, [Epub ahead of print].
(IMPRS-LS students are in bold)
Imaging-Based Screening Platform Assists Protein Engineering.
Protein engineering involves generating and screening large numbers of variants for desired properties. While modern DNA technology has made it easy to create protein diversity on the DNA level, the selection and validation of candidate proteins from large libraries remains a challenge. We built a screening platform that integrates high-quality fluorescence-based image analysis and robotic picking of bacterial colonies. It allows tracking each individual colony in a large population and collecting quantitative information on library composition during the protein evolution process. We demonstrate the power of the screening platform by optimizing a dim far-red-emitting fluorescent protein whose brightness increased several fold using iterative cycles of mutagenesis and platform-based screening. The resulting protein variant mCarmine is useful for imaging cells and structures within live tissue as well as for molecular tagging. Overall, the platform presented provides powerful, flexible, and low-cost instrumentation to accelerate many fluorescence-based protein optimization projects.