A recombinant protein is an artificial type of protein, which is a key ingredient in modifying gene sequences, producing a larger quantity of proteins, and manufacturing commercial products.
Since recombinant proteins are artificial, where do they come from? Recombinant proteins are derived from recombinant DNA, a type of DNA, which also doesn’t have natural origins. We all know that DNA determines what a human being looks like, down to his specific traits. But DNA is mere code. Proteins are the stars—for we (along with other living organisms) are in essence, made up of a combination of proteins. Proteins are made up of long chains of amino acids. There are officially 20 kinds of existing amino acids, and every organism utilizes those 20 amino acids to form every kind of protein possible.
Recombinant DNA is formed through genetic modification, where DNA sequences are combined. A specific type of DNA is inserted into an existing organism’s DNA for the purpose of altering DNA traits or codes, such as the insertion of two segments of relevant DNA into the plasmids of bacteria in order to create an antibiotic response. Recombinant DNA also makes it possible for the organisms being modified at hand to replicate or to be given abilities for protein production, making them capable of coming up with large quantities of proteins they can’t normally produce on their own. These proteins are what we call recombinant proteins. Thus, recombinant DNA inserted into a bacteria results in production of recombinant proteins. These recombinant proteins come in many types and can range from antibodies and antigens to enzymes and hormones. Recombinant proteins then undergo protein purification and expression. A specific protein is isolated from a mixture so that researchers can study its structure, functions and characteristics. This is important for recombinant expression so that researchers get to give definitions and classifications to the gene or protein being studied at hand.
The technology of using recombinant protein has resulted in many notable innovations in science, particularly in medical treatments like vaccines, drugs, etc. The creation of human recombinant insulin by microorganisms or recombinant bacteria, is a replacement for recombinant insulin from swine, which isn’t compatible for many recipients. Many vaccines for diseases like measles, rabies, hepatitis, typhus, meningitis, etc. that are available today are also the product of recombinant DNA technology. Another benefit of recombinant proteins is the creation of therapeutic proteins, which would be very helpful in modifying and repairing genetic deficiencies, treating and combating immune system illnesses, and even killing cancer cells. A notable example is the recombinant protein hormone Erythropoietin, used in treating erythrocyte deficiency, a cause of kidney failure. Recombinant DNA technology and the manipulation of recombinant proteins can also be used for cloning. But as far as some people are concerned, that’s already going a step further into the dark side of science and technology, since it involves legal, moral, and ethical grounds of controversy.
In recent years, more studies and experiments that revolved around the use of recombinant protein for our benefit have been and are being conducted. Furthermore, recombinant DNA is becoming a very useful technology in understanding the interactions and characteristics of proteins.