Quantification of Interlaboratory Cell-Free Protein Synthesis Variability | AIChE

Quantification of Interlaboratory Cell-Free Protein Synthesis Variability


Cole, S. - Presenter, CCDC Chemical Biological Center
Beabout, K., UES, Inc.
Turner, K., NRL
Funk, V., CCDC Chemical Biological Center
Harbaugh, S., Air Force Research Laboratory
Liem, A., DCS Corp
Roth, P., DCS Corp
Geier, B., Air Force Research Laboratory
Emanuel, P., CCDC Chemical Biological Center
Walper, S., US Naval Research Laboratory
Ch�vez, J. L., Air Force Research Laboratory
Lux, M., CCDC Chemical Biological Center
Cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) platforms, once primarily a research tool to produce difficult to express proteins, are increasingly being pursued by the synthetic biology community for applications including biomanufacturing, rapid screening systems, and field-ready sensors. While consistency within individual studies is apparent in the literature, challenges with reproducing results between laboratories, or even between individuals within a laboratory, are discussed openly by practitioners. As the field continues to grow and move towards applications, a quantitative understanding of expected variability for CFPS and the relative contribution of underlying sources will become increasingly important. Here we offer the first quantitative assessment of interlaboratory variability in CFPS. Three laboratories implemented a single CFPS protocol and performed a series of exchanges, both of material and personnel, designed to quantify relative contributions to variability associated with the site, operator, cell extract preparation, and supplemental reagent preparation. We found that materials prepared at each laboratory, exchanged pairwise, and tested at each site resulted in 40.3% coefficient of variation compared to 7.64% for a single operator across days using a single set of materials. Reagent preparations contributed significantly to observed variability; extract preparations, however, surprisingly did not explain any of the observed variability, even when prepared in different laboratories by different operators. Subsequent exchanges showed that both the site and the operator each contributed to observed interlaboratory variability. In addition to providing the first quantitative assessment of interlaboratory variability in CFPS, these results establish a baseline for individual operator variability across days that can be used as an initial benchmark for community-driven standardization efforts. We anticipate that our results will narrow future avenues of investigation to develop best practices that will ultimately drive down interlaboratory variability, accelerating research progress and informing the suitability of CFPS for real-world applications.