Genetic Engineering and Molecular Biology

Recombinant protein production

Therapeutic proteins, Prophylactic proteins, Diagnostic proteins, Industrial enzymes and Food preservatives form an important group of high-value-low-volume products in biotechnology industries. Isolation of these proteins from the respective natural sources is often insufficient and economically not viable. As 75% of the production cost is involved in downstream processing, to achieve commercially viable proposition, their upstream strategies (recombinant DNA technology and bioprocess engineering) and downstream isolation processes have to be appropriately designed to minimize the cost involved.

Though heterologous protein expression is a popular molecular biology approach it requires, however, broad background knowledge on available expression systems with their major advantages and shortcomings. There is no ideal host and no ideal expression system that meets all needs. The final requirements of the product will actually govern the initial choice of the cloning and expression system. Better understandings of the protein to be produced, and the better knowledge about the main features of the expression systems available will lead to choice. This should enable us to design a competent strategy for the recombinant protein production. Based on the years of experience in this field, especially in Recombinant DNA techniques, fermentation techniques and downstream processing, a strategy involving use of secretory vectors, attachment of His-tags, salt-inducible promoters, media optimization for supporting recombinant protein expression after induction, simple purification procedures using affinity techniques suited to protein engineering is being constantly developed.


The group is actively involving in the strain improvement and the biotransformation studies for the production of organic acids. Conventional mutation studies involving physical and chemical mutagens as well as molecular biological approaches are being applied to increase the efficiency of biotransformation.

Generation of viral resistant transgenic shrimps

In the global market seafood such as shrimps play a crucial role to meet the demand for protein food. The major constraint that has affected the shrimp culture industry is the occurrence of infectious and non-infectious diseases. Viral and bacterial infections of the shrimps have caused the most of the production loss in different parts of the world.

White spot disease is one of the important viral diseases. By considering the detrimental effect of this disease in shrimp population this virus has been characterized as a deadly one. Infectivity, mode of transmission, dissemination and outbreak of this disease reveal the strength of the virulence of this virus. The death of one prawn by this disease is enough to kill all the prawns in the whole aquaculture pond. The loss due to this disease was estimated as several million dollars per year globally. The loss due to the recent out-break of the white spot disease in shrimp in different parts of India has been estimated to Rs.600 Crores in 1995-96 and the loss continues to the same extent even now. This has led to the closure of the most of the aquaculture industries today in India. Even now it is remaining as unsolved potential problem to control the outbreak of this viral disease.

Our research focus on identification of novel genes involved in the pathogenesis of white spot syndrome towards the development of transgenic viral resistant shrimp. Developing the viral resistant transgenic shrimp will be an appropriate solution for the prawn farmers than the other possibilities.