We engineer designer fusion proteins that combine domains and functions from unrelated proteins and enzymes. In bioseparations, we have combined a previously developed pH-sensitive self-cleaving protein with a variety of purification tags to produce simple and economical methods for purifying recombinant proteins. In biosensing, we have developed allosteric proteins that cause Escherichia coli strains to become growth-dependent on endocrine active compounds. Remarkably, this genetically simple bacterial sensor can differentiate agonist from antagonist activities and has been effective in detecting estrogenicity in a wide variety of pollutants, home products and natural herbal remedies.
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