What are Proteins?
Proteins are essential components of biological systems. They are made up of polypeptide chains, and their function is dependent on their structure. In the body, these polypeptide chains exist in various conformations:
- Transport proteins
- Storage proteins
- Carrier proteins
- Structural proteins
- Signalling peptides
Proteins are generated by the transcription of DNA into a messenger RNA, which is then translated into a polypeptide chain of amino acids. Various polypeptide chains might come together to form a protein.
What are Recombinant Proteins?
In the past, proteins were obtained from natural sources. But, advancements in science and technology have made it possible for a recombinant protein expression company to clone the DNA that encodes a specific protein into a vector.
The vector is then introduced into an expression system like bacteria and yeast, which produce that particular protein when they divide.
The protein is then separated and used for medical treatments. Simply put, recombinant proteins are translated products of exogenous DNA.
Steps To Produce Recombinant Proteins:
Production of recombinant proteins generally involves two major steps:
- Cloning of DNA
- Expression of protein
Advantages Of Recombinant Proteins:
The production of recombinant protein has a wide range of applications in various fields of science today.
In human beings, proteins make up 14 to 16 per cent of the total body mass of an individual. So, many diseases of the human body involve dysfunction or underproduction of various important proteins.
These diseases involve haemophilia, anaemia, and others. The treatment of such acute or chronic conditions is simply providing that protein.
But it was not that simple in the past because proteins were collected from natural resources. Recombinant protein technology has made obtaining the required protein for treatment purposes easier.
Recombinant proteins have also been proven to be helpful in diseases like cancer, infections, and diabetes.
Mostly, recombinant proteins are made in mammalian cells because they give the best quality product that closely resembles human proteins.
Recombinant proteins help in understanding the biology of human beings. They are widely used in the research of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology to unmask the functions and structures of different body proteins.
They also help in uncovering the products encoded by the segments of DNA. Recombinant proteins have also helped understand the interactions of proteins among themselves and with other macro and micro molecules.
Understanding these interactions has paved the way for techniques like ELISA and Western Blot.
Recombinant proteins are used in various industries like the nutrition industry, breeding, bioengineering and farming.
For example, recombinant proteins can be added to animals’ feed to increase dietary sufficiency, prevent food wastage, improve livestock performance and protect the environment. Recombinant proteins are also used to produce fermented foods.
Limitations Of Recombinant Proteins:
Although recombinant proteins have several advantages in diverse fields of science, they also pose some limitations:
- Time-consuming and complex production
- High production expenses
- The recombinant proteins might be less effective and efficient than natural ones.
- The recombinant proteins might be unsafe in some cases due to immunogenicity. It is sometimes difficult to ensure total safety.