Category: Success Stories – Page 2

New Protein Solubility Predictor Funded by PoC Award

Proof of Concept funding from BioProNET has enabled Jim Warwicker and colleagues from the University to build a webtool that predicts protein solubility. Recombinant biologics often have low solubility, due to their high concentrations, sequence and three-dimensional structure. The accumulation of insoluble protein agglomerates can lead to the formation of aggregates, which can impact biological activity and immunogenicity of a biologic.

Therefore determining the solubility of a protein and its propensity of a protein to aggregate would be of great use to the biopharmaceutical industry and researchers.

The funding from BioProNET enabled Jim and colleagues to develop existing code into a user-friendly web format. Users (anyone!) can paste a single sequence of amino acids into the tool; the software compares this sequence to a benchmark dataset of proteins with known solubility, and then returns a set of calculations that predict solubility of the protein based on its sequence.

The programme calculates a variety of properties — such as amino acid composition, net predicted charge, predicted pI value, ratio of conservative amino acids, propensity for disorder, propensity for forming beta strands and sheets — that indicate how soluble the entered amino acid sequence is likely to be.

The webtool is available here:
http://www.protein-sol.manchester.ac.uk/

The project is already bearing fruit, as it has been used as part of a successful proposal to the EPSRC formulation call. The software is still under development and further improvements, including those based on user-feedback will be added.

Protein-Sol: A web tool for predicting protein solubility from sequence
Hebditch M, Alejandro Carballo-Amador M, Charonis S, Curtis R, Warwicker J.
Bioinformatics doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btx345 May 29 2017

BioProNET Supports Synthetic Portabolomics Project

BioProNet is delighted to have supported Professor Natalio Krasnogor from the University of Newcastle in his successful grant application entitled ‘Synthetic Portabolomics: Leading the Way at the Crossroads of the Digital and the Bio Economies’. Natalio and his co-investigators were awarded a total of £8.1m of which £5.3M was from EPSRC, £2.5M was from the University of Newcastle and £0.4M was from industry collaborators.

Natalio’s work will be focused on a novel area of synthetic biology, called portabolomics. Currently, novel genetic circuits are designed for a single organism (such as E.coli); the circuit needs to be re-engineered for each new organism that is studied – a process which is time consuming and costly. Natalio and his multidisciplinary team aim to standardise the connection between a given genetic circuit and the chassis organism, by understanding the networks of molecular processes that occur in a cell. They will develop a set of academically and industrially useful organisms where the ‘plug-in’ points for the genetic circuit will be the same for each of the organisms, allowing the genetic circuit to be moved from one organism to another.

Natalio also received support from the Centre for Process Innovation,CERN, Croda, Ingenza, Kajeka, Labgenius, Microsoft, Prozomix, SilicoLife, TerraVerdae Bioworks, The Genome Analysis Centre, University of Edinburgh and University of Liverpool.

More information about the grant
Natalio Krasnogor’s home page

BioProNET at Big Bang @ Discovery Park

BioProNET recently took part in a science fair at Discovery Park in Kent, which aimed to inspire students to study STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects.

Around 900 school children, aged 11-14 attended the event, and many learned the difficultities in making antibody-based medicines by trying to make replica biologics out of modelling balloons.

The event was covered in a local newspaper and by Kent and Medway STEM, including some pictures of the students’ models. Although the event was called ‘Big Bang’ we’re happy to report that not too many of our balloons burst!

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A growing membership

We currently have around 530 members, of which over 35% come from industry and non-university institutions. Around 80 different companies — from SMEs to large multinationals — have employees who are members of BioProNET. The word cloud below represents companies from which we have members. If you’d like to join them, click here.
industry wordle

Our members come from almost all corners of the UK – see the member map below. In addition, we have members in Ireland, China, Kenya, USA, France and Malaysia.

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