Genetic Engineering to Improve Protein Functions

Genetic engineering is quickly becoming an important technique in food processing for using engineered products as bioactive ingredients. This is because of successful developments of high-level expression techniques, thereby yielding near 1 g of recombinant proteins per liter of culture media (65). To avoid possible allergenicity or side effects, human peptides or proteins can be produced by genetic engineering to use in diet at reasonable costs. Examples are human lysozyme in infant formula and human cystatins as chemopreventive ingredients. The random-centroid optimization program modified for genetic study (RCG) was intended for use in site-directed mutagenesis (66). The RCG can be used to improve biological functions or to eliminate adverse effects. Structural changes could be a result of these mutations. Study on changes in molecular structure should be conducted to elucidate the mechanism of function of protein molecules under investigation. Since the difficulty in defining structure parameters is involved, the strategy to change structure to optimize function is usually hard to establish, despite the effort being made as described above (60). An advantage of RCG is that there is no need of a priori information on the structure-function relationships. Therefore, experimental optimization such as RCG can be a useful approach at the present stage of progress in protein chemistry.

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