Congratulations to Volkan Besirlioglu on his recent joint publication!
Currently only one in 100,000 microbes detected in environmental samples can be cultivated. Moreover, only 40% of DNA isolated from environmental samples – also known as metagenome – can be expressed in E.coli, biotechnology`s work horse. The discovery of previously unknown proteins from such environmental samples therefore represents one of the great challenges of biotechnology. Overcoming these limitations requires a technology that enables the host-independent biosynthesis of such proteins. A possible solution is the use of cell-free systems which uses previously isolated cellular components required for protein synthesis. One of these components required for protein synthesis is the RNA polymerase that enables the expressions of proteins which previously could not be expressed in E.coli.
Within our project we expressed for the first time a RNA polymerase from bacteria of the genus Geobacillus in E.coli for a direct in vitro transcription of metagenomic DNA without compromising the original function of the enzyme. This RNA polymerase is therefore well suited for cell-free metagenomics.