ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology

Synthetic Biology


6, Jun 2024

Breakthrough genetic technology transforms biomanufacturing

A new technology that improves the biomanufacturing of biologics has been developed by researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology.

LowTempGAL, outlined in a new paper, is a new system that helps to improve many aspects of the biomanufacturing process.

Temperature is a critical factor in the making of biologics, products derived from natural sources such as microorganisms and plants, including proteins and fine chemicals.

Temperature affects many aspects of cell activities, including growth, metabolism and cell structures, explains lead author Mr Zeyu Lu.

Lead author Mr Zeyu Lu
Lead author Mr Zeyu Lu

‘In biotechnology processes, the fermentation temperature can affect the productivities of microbial cell factories,’ he says.  ‘In this work, a genetic device was made to precisely induce production upon temperature dropping.’

The LowTempGAL system uses temperature biosensors to regulate gene expression – the process by which a gene produces a product such as a protein.

‘It’s important to precisely control the expression of genes to optimise bioproduction and to interrogate fundamental questions about cellular metabolism’, says Dr Bingyin Peng.

The system in the first version initially had issues, such as weak responses to the change of temperature, but the researchers have fine tuned a design that delivers rapid and strong responses to temperature shifts.

‘This system offers a new option for precise control of bioproduction, which is essential for making high-quality products efficiently,’ says Mr Lu.

‘Temperature-controlled gene expression eliminates the use of hazardous chemicals, making large-scale biomanufacturing processes safer and more environmentally friendly.’

The co-authors believe the result presents a significant leap forward in development of synthetic biological devices, which could transform how we produce important biological products like future chemicals, foods, medicines, vaccines and fuels.