Next Article in Journal
Performance Evaluation of a Dense MEMS-Based Seismic Sensor Array Deployed in the Sichuan-Yunnan Border Region for Earthquake Early Warning
Previous Article in Journal
Analysis and Simulation of Forcing the Limits of Thermal Sensing for Microbolometers in CMOS–MEMS Technology
Open AccessReview

Droplet Microfluidics-Enabled High-Throughput Screening for Protein Engineering

enEvolv, Inc., Medford, MA 02155, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Micromachines 2019, 10(11), 734;
Received: 5 October 2019 / Revised: 22 October 2019 / Accepted: 26 October 2019 / Published: 29 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Droplet Microfluidics)
Protein engineering—the process of developing useful or valuable proteins—has successfully created a wide range of proteins tailored to specific agricultural, industrial, and biomedical applications. Protein engineering may rely on rational techniques informed by structural models, phylogenic information, or computational methods or it may rely upon random techniques such as chemical mutation, DNA shuffling, error prone polymerase chain reaction (PCR), etc. The increasing capabilities of rational protein design coupled to the rapid production of large variant libraries have seriously challenged the capacity of traditional screening and selection techniques. Similarly, random approaches based on directed evolution, which relies on the Darwinian principles of mutation and selection to steer proteins toward desired traits, also requires the screening of very large libraries of mutants to be truly effective. For either rational or random approaches, the highest possible screening throughput facilitates efficient protein engineering strategies. In the last decade, high-throughput screening (HTS) for protein engineering has been leveraging the emerging technologies of droplet microfluidics. Droplet microfluidics, featuring controlled formation and manipulation of nano- to femtoliter droplets of one fluid phase in another, has presented a new paradigm for screening, providing increased throughput, reduced reagent volume, and scalability. We review here the recent droplet microfluidics-based HTS systems developed for protein engineering, particularly directed evolution. The current review can also serve as a tutorial guide for protein engineers and molecular biologists who need a droplet microfluidics-based HTS system for their specific applications but may not have prior knowledge about microfluidics. In the end, several challenges and opportunities are identified to motivate the continued innovation of microfluidics with implications for protein engineering. View Full-Text
Keywords: FADS; emulsification; droplet coalescence; enzyme engineering; synthetic biology FADS; emulsification; droplet coalescence; enzyme engineering; synthetic biology
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

MDPI and ACS Style

Weng, L.; Spoonamore, J.E. Droplet Microfluidics-Enabled High-Throughput Screening for Protein Engineering. Micromachines 2019, 10, 734.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

Back to TopTop