Core facility for genetic engineering

Our facility is dedicated to provide research groups within the institute with state of the art molecular biology services to facilitate their specific research projects, e.g. DNA/RNA isolation/preparation/ analysis & detection, custom cloning, genotyping, protein detection, protein expression and labelling, design, production and characterization of stable cell lines, viruses and more.

Please contact us for any demand you may have.

We intend on providing services in the following areas:

Virus production:

Viral vectors have become one of the most powerful methods to interfere genetically in the living animal. Overexpression, downregulation or even the inactivation of a target gene are just some of the options that are possible by using these vectors. We provide suitable viral vectors to target the cells of your interest with optogenetic actuators and inhibitors or genetically encoded fluorescent reporters for Ca2+, pH, membrane voltage or other modalities.

Our service:

  • Designing and cloning of viral plasmids
  • Production, amplification and purification of virus particles
  • Validation of infectivity in cell culture models

Custom cloning and genotyping

The study of the behavior of cells, slices or even animals often require genetic intervention. The basis for these methods is a solid molecular biology background and state of the art techniques to provide the necessary vectors. It is also vital to verify the genotype of animals after crossings have been set up.

We offer:

  • DNA/RNA purification and detection
  • Genotyping
  • On demand cloning of vectors and plasmids
  • Mutagenesis
  • PCR, real-time RCR
  • Genetically tagging genes with fluorescent reporters

Protein expression and characterization

To understand a cellular behavior on the molecular level, it is important to understand the underlying proteins that are involved. Besides up- or downregulating expression of a protein in vivo and studying the outcome, it is often vital to study a candidate protein or an assortment of proteins in detail in vitro. In many cases, this is most effectively done by expressing the protein of interest in a heterologous expression system, purify the protein and study its properties with state of the art biophysical and biochemical methods.

Our support offer:

  • Overexpression of proteins in E. coli or in mammalian cells
  • Purification via affinity chromatography using tags
  • Protein gel electrophoresis to verify expression
  • Western Blotting
  • Pull-down or Fret-based assays for protein-protein interaction
  • CD spectroscopy
  • Dynamic light scattering spectroscopy
  • Labelling of proteins with organic dyes

Cell culture

The behavior of cells or cellular networks is the groundwork to eventually understand the behavior of a living organism. Cultured cells can often be great models to understand how cellular computation takes place and how external signals are processed. Taylor-designed cell lines can be of ultimate value to understand basic principles of cellular behavior.

We provide:

  • Basic cell culture service
  • Transfection of cells and tissues
  • Production and verification of stable cell lines
  • Designing and setting up cellular assays for the readout of functional activity and state.
  • Testing of fluorescent reporters in living cells

Biophysical characterization of fluorescent reporters

Many modern methods in biology rely on fluorescent reporters. There is an amazing number of novel reporters coming out regularly. However, the basic question, if a reporter is suitable to answer a given scientific question is not always straightforward.

Our service:

  • Expression of a candidate reporter in bacteria or in mammalian cells
  • Purification using affinity chromatography
  • Characterization of the purified reporter using fluorescence, absorption, or CD spectroscopy
  • Use of fluorescence microscopy and electrophysiology to characterize the functionality of the reporter in living cells

Antibody/Nanobody work

Antibodies and nanobodies are essential tools in neuroscience research. While a large number of antibodies are commercially available, especially for standard model systems like the mouse, there is often the need for antibodies or nanobodies for other species or for situations when no tools are commercially available.

We plan to offer:

  • Cloning and expression of the protein of interest or the respective fusion protein
  • Alternatively, design of antigenic peptides for antibody production.
  • Facilitation of projects with a commercial provider to generate antisera
  • Purification of antibodies from sera (polyclonal) or supernatant (monoclonal)
  • Ribosome-display assay to search libraries for candidate nanobodies