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Insect larval expression process is optimized by generating fusions with green fluorescent protein

  • Cha, HJ
  • Dalal, NG
  • Pham, MQ
  • Vakharia, VN
  • Rao, G
  • Bentley, WE
Publication Date
Nov 05, 1999
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The insect larvae/baculovirus protein production process was dramatically simplified by expressing fusion proteins containing green fluorescent protein (GFP) and the product-of-interest. In this case, human interleukin-2 (hlL-2) and chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) were model products. Specificially, our fusion construct was comprised of a histidine affinity ligand for simplified purification using immobilized metal affinity chromatography (IMAC), the UV-optimized GFP (GFPuv) as a marker, an enterokinase cleavage site for recovery of the product from the fusion, and the product, hIL-2 or CAT. Both the similar to 52 kDa GFPuv/hIL-2 and similar to 63 kDa GFPuV/CAT fusions were expressed in Trichoplusia ni larvae at 9.0 mu g-hIL-2 and 24.1 mu g-CAT per larva, respectively. The GFP enabled clear identification of the infection process, harvest time, and more importantly, the quantity of product protein. Because the GFP served as a marker, this technique obviates the need for in-process Western analyses (during expression, separation, and purification stages). As a purification marker, GFP facilitated rapid identification of product-containing elution fractions (Cha et al., 1999b), as well as product-containing waste fractions (e.g., cell pellet). Also, because the fluorescence intensity was linear with hIL-2 and CAT, we were able to select the highest-producing larvae. That is, three fold more product was found in the brightest larva compared to the average. Finally, because the GFP is attached to the product protein and the producing larvae can be selected, the infection and production processes can be made semi-continuous or continuous, replacing the current batch process. These advantages should help to enable commercialization of larvae as expression hosts. (C) 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. / X / 1 / 1 / 40 / scie / scopus

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