Lab-on-a-Chip Breaks Protein-Expression Bottleneck

The Nucleic Acid Programmable Protein Array (NAPPA) was developed at the Harvard Institute of Proteomics and led to the spin-out of Auguron about a year ago. The firm says this technology enables proteins from any gene in the genome to be generated on microchips from surface printed DNA.

According to the Harvard Institute of Proteomics, existing protein arrays involve the tedious and lengthy process of expressing proteins in living cells followed by purifying, stabilizing, and spotting the samples. This process is a bottleneck in the preparation of the arrays.

Moreover,functionally active proteins require careful manipulation, and the less that is needed the better.The NAPPA method simply spots plasmid DNA. All genes are then simultaneously transcribed or translated in a cell-free system and the resulting proteins are immobilized in situ, minimizing direct manipulation of the proteins and making this approach well-suited to high-throughput applications.

Plexera Biosciences now has an exclusive option agreement for Auguron Biosciences’ DNA-based protein chips.

While conventional label-free platforms look at one or several spots at a time, Plexera’s platform is designed to monitor thousands of elements simultaneously. This is also done without using labels.

The firm is on track to launch the Kx5 biosensor instrument this May to the therapeutic antibody-development market. This option builds on the existing relationship between Lumera and Harvard Institute of Proteomics. In January 2006, Lumera began a collaboration with the institute to develop a next generation silicon-chip substrate that combines Lumera’s NanoCapture technology with NAPPA.

For more information on NAPPA, go to:

SOURCES:, Harvard Institute of Proteomics


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