Akaby—Cell-free protein expression system for linear templates

Wakana Sato, Judee A Sharon, Christopher R Deich, Nathaniel Gaut, Brock W Cash, Aaron E. Engelhart, Katarzyna P. Adamala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Cell-free protein expression is increasingly becoming popular for biotechnology, biomedical and research applications. Among cell-free systems, the most popular one is based on Escherichia coli (E. coli). Endogenous nucleases in E. coli cell-free transcription-translation (TXTL) degrade the free ends of DNA, resulting in inefficient protein expression from linear DNA templates. RecBCD is a nuclease complex that plays a major role in nuclease activity in E. coli, with the RecB subunit possessing the actual nuclease activity. We created a RecB knockout of an E. coli strain optimized for cell-free expression. We named this new strain Akaby. We demonstrated that Akaby TXTL successfully reduced linear DNA degradations, rescuing the protein expression efficiency from the linear DNA templates. The practicality of Akaby for TXTL is an efficient, simple alternative for linear template expression in cell-free reactions. We also use this work as a model protocol for modifying the TXTL source E. coli strain, enabling the creation of TXTL systems with other custom modifications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0266272
JournalPloS one
Issue number4 April
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright: © 2022 Sato et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


  • Cell-Free System/metabolism
  • DNA/metabolism
  • Escherichia coli/genetics
  • Escherichia coli Proteins/genetics
  • Exodeoxyribonuclease V/metabolism

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.


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