The Benefits of Cell-Free Protein Synthesis in Protein Production

The field of protein production is seeing widespread adoption of cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS), revolutionizing the industry with its high-throughput and cost-effective capabilities. This innovative method has created new opportunities for synthesizing proteins, especially those that are challenging to produce in living cells. But what makes CFPS so advantageous, and why is it the preferred choice for high-throughput screening and directed evolution?

What is Cell-Free Protein Synthesis?

Cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) is a technology that enables the production of proteins without the need for living cells. This approach utilises cell extracts containing the essential machinery for protein synthesis, along with a special mix of salts, cofactors, and energy sources designed to enhance protein yield and extend reaction duration. CFPS offers a rapid, flexible, and high-throughput alternative to traditional cell-based methods and has become a vital tool in pharmaceuticals, research, and biotechnology.

How Does Cell-Free Protein Synthesis Work?

Cell-free protein synthesis involves extracting cellular machinery like ribosomes, tRNAs, and enzymes from cells and using them in a controlled environment to synthesise proteins. This process bypasses the complexities of cell culture, leading to faster and more efficient protein production. Cell-free protein synthesis can be customised to produce a wide variety of proteins, including those difficult to express in living cells. Isomerase’s E. coli CFPS platform allows for tailored solutions in producing diverse proteins, from simple enzymes to complex biotherapeutics, ensuring high quality and efficiency. To learn more about our platform, contact our team. 

What are the Advantages of Cell-Free Protein Synthesis?

CFPS offers several advantages over traditional cell-based methods:cell-free-synthesis-pipetting

  • Rapid Production: CFPS can produce proteins much faster than in vivo methods by bypassing the need for cell growth and division. Proteins can be produced in as little as three hours.

  • High-Throughput: The open nature of CFPS allows for high-throughput screening and production, which is beneficial for drug development and other applications. Hundreds of proteins can be synthesized simultaneously.

  • Cost-Effective: CFPS eliminates the need for traditional cell-based protein synthesis, allowing proteins to be synthesized and assayed on the same day. CFPS reactions can be scaled according to requirements.

  • Complex Protein Synthesis: CFPS is particularly useful for producing difficult-to-express proteins, such as membrane proteins or toxic proteins.

  • Open System: CFPS operates in an open system, allowing direct control and manipulation of the reaction conditions.

  • No Cell Dependence: It eliminates the need for living cells, avoiding complications related to cell viability and maintenance.

  • Focused Energy: The system directs all its energy towards synthesizing the target protein, enhancing efficiency.

What Are the Applications of Cell-free Protein Synthesis in Research?

CFPS is a valuable tool for researchers studying protein function, structure, and interactions. It is rapid and cost-effective, allowing proteins to be produced for biochemical assays, structural biology studies, and functional analyses. In pharmaceutical development, CFPS can significantly speed up the drug discovery process. By enabling rapid prototyping and testing of therapeutic proteins, CFPS reduces the time and cost associated with drug development. Additionally, CFPS can produce proteins that are difficult to express in traditional systems, including toxic proteins, opening new avenues for developing novel therapeutics. 

How Does Isomerase’s CFPS Platform Support Custom Protein Production?

Isomerase’s E. coli CFPS platform is designed to meet the specific protein production needs of its clients. The platform offers customizable solutions for producing a wide range of proteins, from simple enzymes to complex biotherapeutics. Additionally, we offer EvoSelect®, our newly developed bioinformatic tool, which seamlessly integrates with the CFPS platform for directed evolution, amplifying the efficiency and precision of protein engineering for our partners. With a focus on quality and efficiency, Isomerase ensures that the proteins produced meet the highest standards required for research and industrial applications.


As we continue to explore the capabilities of cell-free protein synthesis, it is clear that this method holds immense potential for the future of protein synthesis. With its ability to overcome the limitations of cell-based methods, CFPS is set to revolutionize the way we produce proteins, opening new doors for scientific discovery and innovation. At Isomerase, we understand the intricacies of protein synthesis. Our cell-free protein synthesis platform is designed to meet the needs of our partners, offering custom solutions and support throughout the development process. If you’re looking to harness the power of CFPS, reach out to us.

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