• Protein folding and conformational stress in microbial cells producing recombinant proteins: a host comparative overview.

      Gasser, Brigitte; Saloheimo, Markku; Rinas, Ursula; Dragosits, Martin; Rodríguez-Carmona, Escarlata; Baumann, Kristin; Giuliani, Maria; Parrilli, Ermenegilda; Branduardi, Paola; Lang, Christine; et al. (2008)
      ABSTRACT: Different species of microorganisms including yeasts, filamentous fungi and bacteria have been used in the past 25 years for the controlled production of foreign proteins of scientific, pharmacological or industrial interest. A major obstacle for protein production processes and a limit to overall success has been the abundance of misfolded polypeptides, which fail to reach their native conformation. The presence of misfolded or folding-reluctant protein species causes considerable stress in host cells. The characterization of such adverse conditions and the elicited cell responses have permitted to better understand the physiology and molecular biology of conformational stress. Therefore, microbial cell factories for recombinant protein production are depicted here as a source of knowledge that has considerably helped to picture the extremely rich landscape of in vivo protein folding, and the main cellular players of this complex process are described for the most important cell factories used for biotechnological purposes.
    • Simple high-cell density fed-batch technique for high-level recombinant protein production with Pichia pastoris: Application to intracellular production of Hepatitis B surface antigen.

      Gurramkonda, Chandrasekhar; Adnan, Ahmad; Gäbel, Thomas; Lünsdorf, Heinrich; Ross, Anton; Nemani, Satish Kumar; Swaminathan, Sathyamangalam; Khanna, Navin; Rinas, Ursula; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. ursula.rinas@helmholtz-hzi.de. (2009)
      ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Hepatitis B is a serious global public health concern. Though a safe and efficacious recombinant vaccine is available, its use in several resource-poor countries is limited by cost. We have investigated the production of Hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg) using the yeast Pichia pastoris GS115 by inserting the HBsAg gene into the alcohol oxidase 1 locus. RESULTS: Large-scale production was optimized by developing a simple fed-batch process leading to enhanced product titers. Cells were first grown rapidly to high-cell density in a batch process using a simple defined medium with low salt and high glycerol concentrations. Induction of recombinant product synthesis was carried out using rather drastic conditions, namely through the addition of methanol to a final concentration of 6 g L-1. This methanol concentration was kept constant for the remainder of the cultivation through continuous methanol feeding based on the on-line signal of a flame ionization detector employed as methanol analyzer in the off-gas stream. Using this robust feeding protocol, maximum concentrations of ~7 grams HBsAg per liter culture broth were obtained. The amount of soluble HBsAg, competent for assembly into characteristic virus-like particles (VLPs), an attribute critical to its immunogenicity and efficacy as a hepatitis B vaccine, reached 2.3 grams per liter of culture broth. CONCLUSION: In comparison to the highest yields reported so far, our simple cultivation process resulted in an ~7 fold enhancement in total HBsAg production with more than 30% of soluble protein competent for assembly into VLPs. This work opens up the possibility of significantly reducing the cost of vaccine production with implications for expanding hepatitis B vaccination in resource-poor countries.