P.A. Barendt, D.T.W. Ng, C.N. McQuade, and C.A. Sarkar. "Streamlined protocol for mRNA display." ACS Combinatorial Science, in press (2013).
mRNA display is a powerful method for in vitro directed evolution of polypeptides, but its time-consuming, technically demanding nature has hindered its widespread use. We present a streamlined protocol in which lengthy mRNA purification steps are replaced with faster precipitation and ultrafiltration alternatives; additionally, other purification steps are entirely eliminated by using a reconstituted translation system and by performing reverse transcription after selection, which also protects input polypeptides from thermal denaturation. We tested this procedure by performing affinity selection against Her2 using binary libraries containing a non-specific designed ankyrin repeat protein (DARPin) doped with a Her2-binding DARPin (dopant fraction ranging from 1:10 to 1:10,000). The Her2-binding DARPin was recovered in all cases, with an enrichment factor of up to two orders of magnitude per selection round. The time required for one round is reduced from 4-7 days to 2 days with our protocol, thus simplifying and accelerating mRNA display experiments.