As you may have read in the Magazine ‘M’, fibroblast growth factors are proteins that support cell growth and division. Researchers from Masaryk University not only managed to discover and describe the key properties of the FGF2 protein, they were also able to stabilise the factor thanks to protein engineering.
Protein engineering modifications to FGF2 lasted three years and focused on the thermodynamic stability of the protein. “We gradually exchanged some amino acids in its structure for others, introducing so-called point mutations. Through this process, we strengthened interactions between the amino acids, thereby increasing the overall robustness of the protein. We mastered the design of mutations and their construction quickly, but then followed a long period of testing their effect on FGF2 biological activity. We had to be very careful not to damage the protein, so we tested each of the thousands of protein variants individually", added David Bednář from the Loschmidt Laboratories, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University.