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Synthetic Biology Automation

Hudson Robotics equipment

Overview

Hudson Robotics’ unique capabilities and product mix have enabled us to lead the entire world in the automation of synthetic biology:  from automated oligo synthesis, through to fully- automated protein expression.

Hudson’s ability to move microplates and control instruments has enabled us to build completely automated  gene-assembly systems, and hands-free protein expression systems, in compact work envelopes that no other automation company in the world can duplicate.  

In addition to the compactness of Hudson’s systems, we also offer another unique feature:  the ability to use only portions of the entire system at any time.  This allows the researcher to perform only one or two steps of the process as needed. 

Hudson has also coupled our internet-based system controller to allow researchers to download their workflow from the cloud.  Now, it doesn’t matter if the scientist is in the next room, on the next continent.  Hudson’s systems can react and run synthetic biology processes on demand.

Gene Design and Assembly

Hudson has succeeded in automated the gene assembly process, including systems that assemble genes from pooled oligos, as well as systems that create oligos and carry them through the complete process  to form functioning genes and viruses.  These processes include:

Oligo Synthesis – Downloads desired oligo formulations from a local file or via internet.  Converts the file information into specific instructions for an automated oligo synthesizer, as well as operator prompts to insure that the required materials are present.

Deprotection and Purification – Elutes the synthesized oligos from their solid substrates, then deprotects  them in a seamless, fully automated series of steps.   These steps include a rinse under vacuum of the synthesizer columns, addition of deprotection reagents, sealing the collection plate (if necessary), performing the deprotectiion reaction, then unsealing the plate.  All this is done in a hands-free automated process.

Normalization – Utilizing an absorbance plate reader and SoftLinx’s ability to adapt its instrument instructions to the results of the reader, the system’s SOLO pipettor performs a series of sample transfers and diluitions to achieve a normalized DNA concentration in every plate well.

Pooling – Following the downloaded sequence instructions provided at the beginning of the process,  SoftLinx directs the system’s pipettor to pool the appropriate oligos to enable the final assembly process to achieve the full gene sequence desired.

Gene Assembly – The final step in the gene production process involves a combination of PCR heating and cooling steps with SoftLinx-directed pipetting of the appropriate reagents to create a completed gene assembly.

PCR and Gene Assembly Workstation

Cell-based Protocols and Protein Expression

Hudson has automated the entire process of protein expression of experimental genes, whether they are from random mutagenesis or from directed assembly:

Ligation – Where bacteria or yeast re to be used for protein expression, Hudson’s automated ligation process moves the desired DNA inserts onto growth or expression vectors prior to transforming them into the competent cells.  The systems can utilize kit-based or user-developed protocols.

Transformation – Using programmable dry-bath nests, the system prepares cells for transformation then executes this on a SOLO pipettor using the insert-containing vectors.  Again, the systems can utilize kit-based or user-developed protocols.

Fully-automated ProLink Protein Expression System

Transcription – Hudson has developed automated transcription workcells for RNA production directly from DNA samples.  Flask-based reactions yield up to 40ng.

Colony Picking – Hudson’s RapidPick automated colony picking systems can be operated as a standalone application or as part of larger cell-culturing and protein expression systems.

Colony to qPCR – Available as stand-alone workcells, or integrated into cell-based assay systems,  SoftLinx directs the preparation and processing of cells directly from colonies to qPCR.   The colony-to-qPCR reaction can be fed directly to a Roche LightCycler, Bio-Rad CFX or ABI 7900/ViiA7 qPCR instruments.

Mini-Prep – Fully-automated separation and purification of plasmids or expressed proteins.

Mini-Prep Workstation

Related Papers

Automated Yeast Mating Protocol Using Open Reading Frames from Saccharomyces cerevisiae Genome to Improve Yeast Strains for Cellulosic Ethanol Production

Production of Candida antarctica Lipase B Gene Open Reading Frame Using Automated PCR Gene Assembly Protocol on Robotic Workcell and Expression in an Ethanologenic Yeast for Use as Resin-Bound Biocatalyst in Biodiesel Production

Cost-Effective High-Throughput Fully Automated Construction of a Multiplex Library of Mutagenized Open Reading Frames for an Insecticidal Peptide Using a Plasmid-Based Functional Proteomic RoboticWorkcell with Improved Vacuum System

High-throughput screening of cellulase F mutants from multiplexed plasmid sets using an automated plate assay on a functional proteomic robotic workcell