AAT Bioquest

What are recombinant proteins used for?

Posted August 5, 2023


Recombinant proteins are used for several processes and fields in biology. They are useful in understanding protein-protein interactions. For example, researchers use recombinant protein microarrays to seed slides with immobilized proteins, in which they treat them using different molecules to analyze how the two substances interact with one another. Due to these microarrays, scientists have been able to study protein interactions with other proteins or peptides, small molecules, nucleic acids, and enzymes.  

Recombinant proteins are also useful in fields such as diagnostic tools, therapeutics, vaccines, and food production. Insulin is an example of a hormone that is able to be produced with recombinant DNA technology, and is crucial in helping millions of diabetic patients to regulate their blood sugar levels. Recombinant protein vaccines are non-replicating and lack any infectious components of a viral particle. Thus, these vaccines are considered to be safer compared to vaccines which use live viruses. In food production, recombinant protein technology inserts specific DNA sequences into non-animal cells (e.g. plants, fungi, bacteria, yeast). The expressed proteins are then purified and used as the primary ingredient to develop cellular agriculture food products.  

Additional resources

Recombinant Protein

Antibodies and Proteomics

Gene Expression Analysis & Genotyping