Cell-free Storage

Cell-free reactions are generally accepted to be more fragile than cellular systems.  They require numerous components in strict concentrations for optimal protein production.  For this reason, they are not generally considered for field applications.  In April 2014, Smith et al. (from the Bundy lab at Brigham Young University) report that cell-free systems can be lyophilized (free dried) and stored in a refrigerator with a minimal lack of activity.  The plot to the right, from their paper, shows the relative activity, measure by GFP production in ug/mL, for aqueous extract (blue), and two different lyophilized cell-free systems.  Compared to the standard of storing solutions at -80C, the lyophilized systems lose only about 25% of their activity.