As a strong fermentator, Saccharomyces cerevisiae has the potential to be an excellent host for ethanol production by consolidated bioprocessing. For this purpose, it is necessary to transform cellulose genes into the yeast genome because it contains no cellulose genes. However, heterologous protein expression in S. cerevisiae often suffers from hyper-glycosylation and/or poor secretion. Thus, there is a need to genetically engineer the yeast to reduce its glycosylation strength and to increase its secretion ability.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae gene-knockout strains were screened for improved extracellular activity of a recombinant exocellulase (PCX) from the cellulose digesting fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium. Knockout mutants of 47 glycosylation-related genes and 10 protein-trafficking-related genes were transformed with a PCX expression construct and screened for extracellular cellulase activity. Twelve of the screened mutants were found to have a more than 2-fold increase in extracellular PCX activity in comparison with the wild type. The extracellular PCX activities in the glycosylation-related mnn10 and pmt5 null mutants were, respectively, 6 and 4 times higher than that of the wild type; and the extracellular PCX activities in 9 protein-trafficking-related mutants, especially in the chc1, clc1 and vps21 null mutants, were at least 1.5 times higher than the parental strains. Site-directed mutagenesis studies further revealed that the degree of N-glycosylation also plays an important role in heterologous cellulase activity in S. cerevisiae.
Systematic screening of knockout mutants of glycosylation- and protein trafficking-associated genes in S. cerevisiae revealed that: (1) blocking Golgi-to-endosome transport may force S. cerevisiae to export cellulases; and (2) both over- and under-glycosylation may alter the enzyme activity of cellulases. This systematic gene-knockout screening approach may serve as a convenient means for increasing the extracellular activities of recombinant proteins expressed in S. cerevisiae.
Cellulase production; Glycosylation; Protein secretion
Genetically engineered (GE) ringspot virus-resistant papaya cultivars ‘Rainbow’ and ‘SunUp’ have been grown in Hawai’i for over 10 years. In Hawai’i, the introduction of GE papayas into regions where non-GE cultivars are grown and where feral non-GE papayas exist have been accompanied with concerns associated with transgene flow. Of particular concern is the possibility of transgenic seeds being found in non-GE papaya fruits via cross-pollination. Development of high-throughput methods to reliably detect the adventitious presence of such transgenic material would benefit both the scientific and regulatory communities.
We assessed the accuracy of using conventional qualitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) as well as real-time PCR-based assays to quantify the presence of transgenic DNA from bulk samples of non-GE papaya seeds. In this study, an optimized method of extracting high quality DNA from dry seeds of papaya was standardized. A reliable, sensitive real-time PCR method for detecting and quantifying viral coat protein (cp) transgenes in bulk seed samples utilizing the endogenous papain gene is presented. Quantification range was from 0.01 to 100 ng/μl of GE-papaya DNA template with a detection limit as low as 0.01% (10 pg). To test this system, we simulated transgene flow using known quantities of GE and non-GE DNA and determined that 0.038% (38 pg) GE papaya DNA could be detected using real-time PCR. We also validated this system by extracting DNA from known ratios of GE seeds to non-GE seeds of papaya followed by real-time PCR detection and observed a reliable detection limit of 0.4%.
This method for the quick and sensitive detection of transgenes in bulked papaya seed lots using conventional as well as real-time PCR-based methods will benefit numerous stakeholders. In particular, this method could be utilized to screen selected fruits from maternal non-GE papaya trees in Hawai’i for the presence of transgenic seed at typical regulatory threshold levels. Incorporation of subtle differences in primers and probes for variations in cp worldwide should allow this method to be utilized elsewhere when and if deregulation of transgenic papaya occurs.
Coat protein (CP); Genetically-engineered; Papain; Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR); Seeds; Transgene; Virus resistance
The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae can be a useful model for studying cellular mechanisms related to sterol synthesis in humans due to the high similarity of the mevalonate pathway between these organisms. This metabolic pathway plays a key role in multiple cellular processes by synthesizing sterol and nonsterol isoprenoids. Statins are well-known inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGR), the key enzyme of the cholesterol synthesis pathway. However, the effects of statins extend beyond their cholesterol-lowering action, since inhibition of HMGR decreases the synthesis of all products downstream in the mevalonate pathway. Using transgenic yeast expressing human HMGR or either yeast HMGR isoenzyme we studied the effects of simvastatin, atorvastatin, fluvastatin and rosuvastatin on the cell metabolism.
Statins decreased sterol pools, prominently reducing sterol precursors content while only moderately lowering ergosterol level. Expression of genes encoding enzymes involved in sterol biosynthesis was induced, while genes from nonsterol isoprenoid pathways, such as coenzyme Q and dolichol biosynthesis or protein prenylation, were diversely affected by statin treatment. Statins increased the level of human HMGR protein substantially and only slightly affected the levels of Rer2 and Coq3 proteins involved in non-sterol isoprenoid biosynthesis.
Statins influence the sterol pool, gene expression and protein levels of enzymes from the sterol and nonsterol isoprenoid biosynthesis branches and this effect depends on the type of statin administered. Our model system is a cheap and convenient tool for characterizing individual statins or screening for novel ones, and could also be helpful in individualized selection of the most efficient HMGR inhibitors leading to the best response and minimizing serious side effects.
HMG-CoA reductase; Statins; Yeast expression system; Heterologous proteins; Mevalonate pathway
Many biomedical applications require the expression or production of therapeutic hetero-multimeric proteins/protein complexes: in most cases only accomplished by co-ordinated co-expression within the same cell. Foot-and-mouth disease virus 2A (F2A) and ‘2A-like’ sequences are now widely used for this purpose. Since 2A mediates a co-translational ‘cleavage’ at its own C-terminus, sequences encoding multiple proteins (linked via 2As) can be concatenated into a single ORF: a single transgene. It has been shown that in some cases, however, the cleavage efficiency of shorter versions of F2A may be inhibited by the C-terminus of certain gene sequences immediately upstream of F2A. This paper describes further work to optimise F2A for co-expression strategies.
We have inserted F2A of various lengths in between GFP and CherryFP ‘reporter’ proteins (in reciprocal or tandem arrangements). The co-expression of these proteins and cleavage efficiencies of F2As of various lengths were studied by in vitro coupled transcription and translation in rabbit reticulocyte lysates, western blotting of HeLa cell lysates and fluorescence microscopy.
Optimal and suboptimal lengths of F2A sequences were identified as a result of detailed ‘fine-tuning’ of the F2A sequence. Based on our data and the model according to which 2A activity is a product of its interaction with the exit tunnel of the ribosome, we suggest the length of the F2A sequence which is not ‘sensitive’ to the C-terminus of the upstream protein that can be successfully used for co-expression of two proteins for biomedical applications.
Protein co-expression; Bicistronic vector; Co-translational ‘self-cleavage’
With increasing biobanking of biological samples, methods for large scale extraction of nucleic acids are in demand. The lack of such techniques designed for extraction from tissues results in a bottleneck in downstream genetic analyses, particularly in the field of cancer research. We have developed an automated procedure for tissue homogenization and extraction of DNA and RNA into separate fractions from the same frozen tissue specimen. A purpose developed magnetic bead based technology to serially extract both DNA and RNA from tissues was automated on a Tecan Freedom Evo robotic workstation.
864 fresh-frozen human normal and tumor tissue samples from breast and colon were serially extracted in batches of 96 samples. Yields and quality of DNA and RNA were determined. The DNA was evaluated in several downstream analyses, and the stability of RNA was determined after 9 months of storage. The extracted DNA performed consistently well in processes including PCR-based STR analysis, HaloPlex selection and deep sequencing on an Illumina platform, and gene copy number analysis using microarrays. The RNA has performed well in RT-PCR analyses and maintains integrity upon storage.
The technology described here enables the processing of many tissue samples simultaneously with a high quality product and a time and cost reduction for the user. This reduces the sample preparation bottleneck in cancer research. The open automation format also enables integration with upstream and downstream devices for automated sample quantitation or storage.
Nucleic acid extraction; Cancer; Open automation; Sample preparation; Tissue biobanking
Common cell based strategies for the treatment of osseous defects require the isolation and expansion of autologous cells. Since this makes such approaches time-consuming and expensive, we developed a novel expedited technology creating gene activated muscle grafts. We have previously shown that large segmental bone defects in rats can be regenerated by implantation of muscle tissue fragments activated by BMP-2 gene transfer.
In the present study, we compared the bone healing capacities of such gene activated muscle grafts with bone isografts, mimicking autologous bone grafting, the clinical gold standard for treatment of bone defects in patients. Two of 14 male, syngeneic Fischer 344 rats used for this experiment served as donors for muscle and bone. Muscle tissue was harvested from both hind limbs and incubated with an adenoviral vector carrying the cDNA encoding BMP-2. Bone was harvested from the iliac crest and long bone epiphyses. Bone defects (5 mm) were created in the right femora of 12 rats and were filled with either BMP-2 activated muscle tissue or bone grafts. After eight weeks, femora were evaluated by radiographs, micro-computed tomography (μCT), and biomechanical testing. In the group receiving BMP-2 activated muscle grafts as well as in the bone-grafting group, 100% of the bone defects were healed, as documented by radiographs and μCT-imaging. Bone volume was similar in both groups and biomechanical stability of the two groups was statistically indistinguishable.
This study demonstrates that treatment of large bone defects by implantation of BMP-2 gene activated muscle tissue leads to similar bone volume and stability as bone isografts, mimicking autologous bone grafting.
Bone regeneration; Large bone defects; Muscle grafts; Gene transfer; BMP-2; Autologous bone grafts; In vivo; Tissue engineering
Stable expression of transgenes is an important technique to analyze gene function. Various drug resistance genes, such as neo, pac, hph, zeo, bsd, and hisD, have been equally used as selection markers to isolate a transfectant without considering their dose-dependent characters.
We quantitatively measured the variation of transgene expression levels in mouse embryonic stem (mES) cells, using a series of bi-cistronic expression vectors that contain Egfp expression cassette linked to each drug resistant gene via IRES with titration of the selective drugs, and found that the transgene expression levels achieved in each system with this vector design are in order, in which pac and zeo show sharp selection of transfectants with homogenously high expression levels. We also showed the importance of the choice of the drug selection system in gene-trap or gene targeting according to this order.
The results of the present study clearly demonstrated that an appropriate choice of the drug resistance gene(s) is critical for a proper design of the experimental strategy.
Transgene; Expression; Marker; Gene targeting; Vector
The introduction of pharmaceutical traits in tobacco for commercial production could benefit from the utilization of a transgene bioconfinement system. It has been observed that interspecific F1Nicotiana hybrids (Nicotiana tabacum × Nicotiana glauca) are sterile and thus proposed that hybrids could be suitable bioconfined hosts for biomanufacturing. We genetically tagged hybrids with green fluorescent protein (GFP), which was used as a visual marker to enable gene flow tracking and quantification for field and greenhouse studies. GFP was used as a useful proxy for pharmaceutical transgenes.
Analysis of DNA content revealed significant genomic downsizing of the hybrid relative to that of N. tabacum. Hybrid pollen was capable of germination in vitro, albeit with a very low frequency and with significant differences between plants. In two field experiments, one each in Tennessee and Kentucky, we detected outcrossing at only one location (Tennessee) at 1.4%. Additionally, from 50 hybrid plants at each field site, formation of 84 and 16 seed was observed, respectively. Similar conclusions about hybrid fertility were drawn from greenhouse crosses. In terms of above-ground biomass, the hybrid yield was not significantly different than that of N. tabacum in the field.
N. tabacum × N. glauca hybrids show potential to contribute to a bioconfinement- and biomanufacturing host system. Hybrids exhibit extremely low fertility with no difference of green biomass yields relative to N. tabacum. In addition, hybrids are morphologically distinguishable from tobacco allowing for identity preservation. This hybrid system for biomanufacturing would optimally be used where N. glauca is not present and in physical isolation of N. tabacum production to provide total bioconfinement.
Gene flow; Male-sterility; Pharming; Bioconfinement; Nicotiana; Green fluorescent protein (GFP); Plant-made-pharmaceuticals (PMPs)
Bioflocculants effect the aggregation of suspended solutes in solutions thus, a viable alternative to inorganic poly-ionic and synthetic organic flocculants which are associated with deleterious health problems. Consequently, a consortium of two bacteria species were evaluated for optimized bioflocculant yield following the inadequacies of axenic cultures.
16S rDNA nucleotide sequencing and BLAST analysis of nucleotide sequences were used to identify the bacterial species, carbon and nitrogen sources optimally supporting bioflocculant production were assessed and the purified bioflocculant characterized.
Nucleotide sequences showed 97% and 96% similarity to Methylobacterium sp. AKB-2008-KU9 and Methylobacterium sp. strain 440. The second isolate, likewise, showed 98% similarity to Actinobacterium OR-221. The sequences were deposited in GenBank as Methylobacterium sp. Obi [accession number HQ537130] and Actinobacterium sp. Mayor [accession number JF799090]. Flocculating activity of 95% was obtained in the presence of Ca2+ and heat-stability was exhibited with retention of above 70% activity at 100°C in 30 min. In addition, bioflocculant yield was about 8.203 g/l. A dose of 1 mg/ml of purified bioflocculant was optimal for the clarification of Kaolin suspension (100 ml) following Jar test. FTIR spectrum revealed the presence of carboxyl and hydroxyl functional groups amongst others.
The mixed culture produced bioflocculant with high flocculating activity and an improved yield. The efficiency observed with jar test may imply industrial applicability.
Bioflocculant; Consortium; Flocculating activity; Thermostable; Functional groups
Lignin is a significant barrier in the conversion of plant biomass to bioethanol. Cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase (CAD) and caffeic acid O-methyltransferase (COMT) catalyze key steps in the pathway of lignin monomer biosynthesis. Brown midrib mutants in Zea mays and Sorghum bicolor with impaired CAD or COMT activity have attracted considerable agronomic interest for their altered lignin composition and improved digestibility. Here, we identified and functionally characterized candidate genes encoding CAD and COMT enzymes in the grass model species Brachypodium distachyon with the aim of improving crops for efficient biofuel production.
We developed transgenic plants overexpressing artificial microRNA designed to silence BdCAD1 or BdCOMT4. Both transgenes caused altered flowering time and increased stem count and weight. Downregulation of BdCAD1 caused a leaf brown midrib phenotype, the first time this phenotype has been observed in a C3 plant. While acetyl bromide soluble lignin measurements were equivalent in BdCAD1 downregulated and control plants, histochemical staining and thioacidolysis indicated a decrease in lignin syringyl units and reduced syringyl/guaiacyl ratio in the transgenic plants. BdCOMT4 downregulated plants exhibited a reduction in total lignin content and decreased Maule staining of syringyl units in stem. Ethanol yield by microbial fermentation was enhanced in amiR-cad1-8 plants.
These results have elucidated two key genes in the lignin biosynthetic pathway in B. distachyon that, when perturbed, may result in greater stem biomass yield and bioconversion efficiency.
The utilization of raw biomass components such as cellulose or hemicellulose for the production of valuable chemicals has attracted considerable research interest in recent years. One promising approach is the application of microorganisms that naturally convert biomass constituents into value added chemicals. One of these organisms – Ustilago maydis – can grow on xylan, the second most abundant polysaccharide in nature, while at the same time it produces chemicals of biotechnological interest.
In this study, we present the identification of an endo-1,4-beta xylanase responsible for xylan degradation. Xylanase activity of U. maydis cells was indirectly detected by the quantification of released reducing sugars and could be confirmed by visualizing oligosaccharides as degradation products of xylan by thin layer chromatography. A putative endo-1,4-beta-xylanase, encoded by um06350.1, was identified in the supernatant of xylan-grown cells. To confirm the activity, we displayed the putative xylanase on the surface of the xylanase negative Saccharomyces cerevisiae EBY100. The presented enzyme converted xylan to xylotriose, similar to the source organism U. maydis.
The xylan degradation ability together with its unicellular and yeast-like growth makes U. maydis MB215 a promising candidate for the production of valuable chemicals such as itaconic acid or glycolipids from lignocellulosic biomass. Therefore, the characterization of the endo-1,4-beta-xylanase, encoded by um06350.1, is a further step towards the biotechnological application of U. maydis and its enzymes.
Ustilago maydis; Endo-1,4-beta-xylanase; Xylan; Cell surface display
The detailed understanding of the functions and mechanisms of the actin and microtubuli cytoskeleton depended, besides innovative methods in live cell imaging, on the purification and labeling of its constituents. This allowed researchers to quantitatively measure filament stability, the rates of filament turnover as well as the determination of the influence of cofactors on filament formation and structure. Septins form the least understood class of cytoskeletal structures in nearly all eukaryotic cells so far examined. In yeast, they comprise a family of proteins (Cdc3, Cdc10, Cdc11, Cdc12, Shs1) that form a co-polymeric, ring-like structure beneath the membrane. This ring serves as a template for the formation of a new bud neck and as a landing pat for proteins involved in polar growth and cytokinesis. Further progress in investigating the mechanisms of septin-structure formation and regulation is hampered by the lack of protocols to modify homogenous samples of purified septins with useful probes for in vitro biochemical studies.
We present a protocol for the purification and labeling of yeast septin rods. The four individual septin subunits were co-expressed in E.coli. One subunit of the septin polymer was expressed as SNAP tag fusion protein allowing for rapid and stoichiometric labeling with derivatized Benzylguanine (BG). To demonstrate the applicability of our approach, we introduced two different SNAP tag substrates: septin rods labeled with fluorescent BG compounds enabled us to monitor the formation of filaments by fluorescence microscopy whereas BG-biotin was used to couple septin rods to a sensor chip for quantitative surface plasmon resonance binding experiments. In a first application, we determined the affinity and the binding kinetics of the yeast protein Bni5 to the individually coupled septin rods. In a further application we could demonstrate that a once formed septin rod hardly exchange its subunits.
The herein introduced protocol of purifying SNAP tag modified septins from E.coli allowed us to derivatize the obtained septin rods with probes for the further in vitro characterization of this class of cytoskeletal elements. The availability of a very diverse set of SNAP tag substrates should open the way to investigate different aspects of septin biochemistry in mechanistic detail.
Septins; Protein purification; SNAP tag; Protein interactions
There is considerable interest in using cell sheets for the treatment of various lesions as part of regenerative medicine therapy. Cell sheets can be prepared in temperature-responsive culture dishes and applied to injured tissue. For example, cartilage-derived cell sheets are currently under preclinical testing for use in treatment of knee cartilage injuries. The additional use of cryopreservation technology could increase the range and practicality of cell sheet therapies. To date, however, cryopreservation of cell sheets has proved impractical.
Here we have developed a novel and effective method for cryopreserving fragile chondrocyte sheets. We modified the vitrification method previously developed for cryopreservation of mammalian embryos to vitrify a cell sheet through use of a minimum volume of vitrification solution containing 20% dimethyl sulfoxide, 20% ethylene glycol, 0.5 M sucrose, and 10% carboxylated poly-L-lysine. The principal feature of our method is the coating of the cell sheet with a viscous vitrification solution containing permeable and non-permeable cryoprotectants prior to vitrification in liquid nitrogen vapor. This method prevented fracturing of the fragile cell sheet even after vitrification and rewarming. Both the macro- and microstructures of the vitrified cell sheets were maintained without damage or loss of major components. Cell survival in the vitrified sheets was comparable to that in non-vitrified samples.
We have shown here that it is feasible to vitrify chondrocyte cell sheets and that these sheets retain their normal characteristics upon thawing. The availability of a practical cryopreservation method should make a significant contribution to the effectiveness and range of applications of cell sheet therapy.
Cell sheet therapy; Chondrocyte sheet; Vitrification; Cryopreservation; Cartilage repair
An eco-friendly treatment of industrial effluents is a major environmental concern of the modern world in the face of stringent environmental legislations. By keeping in mind the extensive industrial applications of ligninolytic enzymes, this study was performed to purify, and immobilize the manganese peroxidase (MnP) produced from an indigenous strain of Ganoderma lucidum. The present study was also focused on investigating the capability of immobilized MnP for decolorization of dye containing textile effluents.
A large magnitude of an indigenous MnP (882±13.3 U/mL) was obtained from white rot fungal strain G. lucidum in solid state bio-processing of wheat straw under optimized fermentation conditions (moisture, 50%; substrate, 5 g; pH, 5.5; temperature, 30°C; carbon source, 2% fructose; nitrogen source, 0.02% yeast extract; C: N ratio, 25:1; fungal spore suspension, 5 mL and fermentation time period, 4 days). After ammonium sulfate fractionation and Sephadex-G-100 gel filtration chromatography, MnP was 4.7-fold purified with specific activity of 892.9 U/mg. G. lucidum MnP was monomeric protein as evident by single band corresponding to 48 kDa on native and denaturing SDS-PAGE. The purified MnP (2 mg/mL) was immobilized using a sol–gel matrix of tetramethoxysilane (TMOS) and proplytrimethoxysilane (PTMS). The oxidation of MnSO4 for up to 10 uninterrupted cycles demonstrated the stability and reusability of the immobilized MnP. Shelf life profile revealed that enzyme may be stored for up to 60 days at 25°C without losing much of its activity. To explore the industrial applicability of MnP produced by G. lucidum, the immobilized MnP was tested against different textile effluents. After 4 h reaction time, the industrial effluents were decolorized to different extents (with a maximum of 99.2%). The maximally decolorized effluent was analyzed for formaldehyde and nitroamines and results showed that the toxicity parameters were below the permissible limits.
In conclusion, G. lucidum MnP was immobilized by sol–gel matrix entrapment with an objective to enhance its practical efficiencies. The MnP was successfully entrapped into a sol- gel matrix of TMOS and PTMS with an overall immobilization efficiency of 93.7%. The sol- gel entrapped MnP seems to have prospective capabilities which can be useful for industrial purposes, especially for bioremediation of industrial effluents.
Bio-catalysis; G. lucidum; MnP; PAGE; Sol–gel; Immobilization; Textile effluents; Decolorization; Toxicity reduction
Monoclonal antibody therapeutics are rapidly gaining in popularity for the treatment of a myriad of diseases, ranging from cancer to autoimmune diseases and neurological diseases. Multiple forms of antibody therapeutics are in use today that differ in the amount of human sequence present in both the constant and variable regions, where antibodies that are more human-like usually have reduced immunogenicity in clinical trials.
Here we present a method to quantify the humanness of the variable region of monoclonal antibodies and show that this method is able to clearly distinguish human and non-human antibodies with excellent specificity. After creating and analyzing a database of human antibody sequences, we conducted an in-depth analysis of the humanness of therapeutic antibodies, and found that increased humanness score is correlated with decreased immunogenicity of antibodies. We further discovered a surprisingly similarity in the immunogenicity of fully human antibodies and humanized antibodies that are more human-like based on their humanness score.
Our results reveal that in most cases humanizing an antibody and confirming the humanness of the final form may be sufficient to eliminate immunogenicity issues to the same extent as using fully human antibodies. We created a public website to calculate the humanness score of any input antibody sequence based on our human antibody database. This tool will be of great value during the preclinical drug development process for new monoclonal antibody therapeutics.
Therapeutic antibody; Humanization; Immunogenicity
Human adenoviruses are a frequent threat to immunocompromised patients, and disseminated disease is associated with severe morbidity and mortality. Current drugs are not capable of preventing all fatalities, thus indicating the need for alternative treatment strategies. Adenoviruses can be rendered susceptible to antiherpetic prodrugs such as ganciclovir (GCV), upon expression of the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSV-TK) gene in adenovirus-infected cells. Furthermore, adenoviruses are amenable to post-transcriptional gene silencing via small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) or artificial micro RNAs (amiRNAs).
In this study, we combined these 2 approaches by constructing a combinatorial gene expression cassette that comprises the HSV-TK gene and multiple copies of an amiRNA directed against the mRNA encoding the adenoviral preterminal protein (pTP). HSV-TK gene expression was controlled by the adenoviral E4 promoter, which is activated in the presence of the adenoviral E1 gene products (i.e., when adenovirus is present in the cell). When inserted into a replication-deficient (E1-, E3-deleted) adenoviral vector, this cassette effectively inhibited the replication of wild-type adenovirus in vitro. The reduction rate mediated by the combinatorial approach was higher compared to that achieved by either of the 2 approaches alone, and these obvious additive effects became most pronounced when the GCV concentration was low.
The concept presented here has the potential to aid in the inhibition of wild-type adenovirus replication. Furthermore, the combinatorial expression cassette may constitute a safeguard to potentially control unintended replication of adenoviral vectors and to prevent immune responses provoked by them.
Adenovirus; Vector; RNA interference; MicroRNA; Ganciclovir; HSV-TK
Diffusion of small molecules into fish embryos is essential for many experimental procedures in developmental biology and toxicology. Since we observed a weak uptake of lithium into medaka eggs we started a detailed analysis of its diffusion properties using small fluorescent molecules.
Contrary to our expectations, not the rigid outer chorion but instead membrane systems surrounding the embryo/yolk turned out to be the limiting factor for diffusion into medaka eggs. The consequence is a bi-phasic uptake of small molecules first reaching the pervitelline space with a diffusion half-time in the range of a few minutes. This is followed by a slow second phase (half-time in the range of several hours) during which accumulation in the embryo/yolk takes place. Treatment with detergents improved the uptake, but strongly affected the internal distribution of the molecules. Testing electroporation we could establish conditions to overcome the diffusion barrier. Applying this method to lithium chloride we observed anterior truncations in medaka embryos in agreement with its proposed activation of Wnt signalling.
The diffusion of small molecules into medaka embryos is slow, caused by membrane systems underneath the chorion. These results have important implications for pharmacologic/toxicologic techniques like the fish embryo test, which therefore require extended incubation times in order to reach sufficient concentrations in the embryos.
Medaka; Small molecules; Diffusion; Toxicology; Electroporation; LiCl
The demand of monospecific high affinity binding reagents, particularly monoclonal antibodies, has been steadily increasing over the last years. Enhanced throughput of antibody generation has been addressed by optimizing in vitro selection using phage display which moved the major bottleneck to the production and purification of recombinant antibodies in an end-user friendly format. Single chain (sc)Fv antibody fragments require additional tags for detection and are not as suitable as immunoglobulins (Ig)G in many immunoassays. In contrast, the bivalent scFv-Fc antibody format shares many properties with IgG and has a very high application compatibility.
In this study transient expression of scFv-Fc antibodies in human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 cells was optimized. Production levels of 10-20 mg/L scFv-Fc antibody were achieved in adherent HEK293T cells. Employment of HEK293-6E suspension cells expressing a truncated variant of the Epstein Barr virus (EBV) nuclear antigen (EBNA) 1 in combination with production under serum free conditions increased the volumetric yield up to 10-fold to more than 140 mg/L scFv-Fc antibody. After vector optimization and process optimization the yield of an scFv-Fc antibody and a cytotoxic antibody-RNase fusion protein further increased 3-4-fold to more than 450 mg/L. Finally, an entirely new mammalian expression vector was constructed for single step in frame cloning of scFv genes from antibody phage display libraries. Transient expression of more than 20 different scFv-Fc antibodies resulted in volumetric yields of up to 600 mg/L and 400 mg/L in average.
Transient production of recombinant scFv-Fc antibodies in HEK293-6E in combination with optimized vectors and fed batch shake flasks cultivation is efficient and robust, and integrates well into a high-throughput recombinant antibody generation pipeline.
Recombinant Antibodies; Single Chain Fv; scFv-Fc; ImmunoRNase; Transient Mammalian Protein Production; Serum-free medium
A promising way in diagnostic and therapeutic applications is the development of peptide amphiphiles (PAs). Peptides with a palmitic acid alkylchain were designed and characterized to study the effect of the structure modifications on self-assembling capabilities and the multiple binding capacity to hemagglutinin (HA), the surface protein of influenza virus type A. The peptide amphiphiles consists of a hydrophilic headgroup with a biological functionality of the peptide sequence and a chemically conjugated hydrophobic tail. In solution they self-assemble easily to micelles with a hydrophobic core surrounded by a closely packed peptide-shell.
In this study the effect of a multiple peptide binding partner to the receptor binding site of HA could be determined with surface plasmon resonance measurements. The applied modification of the peptides causes signal amplification in relationship to the unmodified peptide wherein the high constant specificity persists. The molecular assembly of the peptides was characterized by the determination of critical micelle concentration (CMC) with concentration of 10-5 M and the colloidal size distribution.
The modification of the physico-chemical parameters by producing peptide amphiphiles form monomeric structures which enhances the binding affinity and allows a better examination of the interaction with the virus surface protein hemagglutinin.
CMC; Influenza virus detection; Micelle; PAs; Surface plasmon resonance
The production process for the current influenza vaccine takes about 6 months and its antigenic composition must be modified annually. In the attempt towards developing influenza vaccine production that would be faster, safer and cheaper we engineered an influenza vaccine in which multiple copies of hemagglutinin (HA) would be delivered by a vector, adenovirus dodecahedron (Ad Dd). Dd is a virus-like particle, formed by assembly of twelve copies of pentameric penton base (Pb) proteins responsible for virus penetration. In order to attach HA to the vector, an adaptor containing WW domains was used. The WW domain is a linear peptide fragment identified as a partner of proline-proline-x-tyrosine (PPxY) motif present at the N-terminal extremity of the Pb protein, which is a building block of Dd. That tandem of three WW domains in fusion with the protein of interest enables interaction with Dd and efficient translocation to the cytoplasm of cells in culture.
Since HA is an oligomeric protein with complicated processing, we prepared six different constructs of HA (A/swan/Poland/467/2006(H5N1)) in fusion with the WW adaptor. Herein we report baculovirus expression and functional analysis of six HA-WW variants. The best behaving variant was successfully delivered into human cells in vitro.
Engineering of a soluble complex of HA with Dd, a virus-like particle that serves as a vector, an adjuvant and as a multivalent presentation platform, is an important step toward a novel influenza vaccine.
Influenza vaccine; Hemagglutinin; Adenovirus dodecahedron; WW-domain adaptor; Vaccine presentation platform; Multivalency
A key issue for safe and reproducible gene therapy approaches is the autologous and tissue-specific expression of transgenes. Tissue-specific expression in vivo is either achieved by transfer vectors that deliver the gene of interest into a distinct cell type or by use of tissue-specific expression cassettes. Here we present the generation of non-viral, episomally replicating vectors that are able to replicate in a tissue specific manner thus allowing tissue specific transgene expression in combination with episomal replication. The episomal replication of the prototype vector pEPI-1 and its derivatives depends exclusively on a transcription unit starting from a constitutively active promoter extending into the scaffold/matrix attachment region (S/MAR).
Here, we exchanged the constitutive promoter in the pEPI derivative pEPito by the tumor specific alpha fetoprotein (AFP) or the muscle specific smooth muscle 22 (SM22) promoter leading to specific transgene expression in AFP positive human hepatocellular carcinoma (HUH7) and in a SM22 positive cell line, respectively. The incorporation of the hCMV enhancer element into the expression cassette further boosted the expression levels with both promoters. Tissue specific-replication could be exemplary proven for the smooth muscle protein 22 (SM22) promoter in vitro. With the AFP promoter-driven pEPito vector hepatocellular carcinoma-specific expression could be achieved in vivo after systemic vector application together with polyethylenimine as transfection enhancer.
In this study we present an episomal plasmid system designed for tissue specific transgene expression and replication. The human AFP-promoter in combination with the hCMV enhancer element was demonstrated to be a valuable tissue-specific promoter for targeting hepatocellular carcinomas with non-viral gene delivery system, and tissue specific replication could be shown in vitro with the muscle specific SM22 promoter. In combination with appropriate delivery systems, the tissue specific pEPito vector system will allow higher tissue-specificity with less undesired side effects and is suitable for long term transgene expression in vivo within gene therapeutical approaches.
Tumor Targeting; pDNA; Episomal; AFP; SM22; Tissue-specific Replication
Activators of Nitrile hydratase (NHase) are essential for functional NHase biosynthesis. However, the activator P14K in P. putida is difficult to heterogeneously express, which retards the clarification of the mechanism of P14K involved in the maturation of NHase. Although a strep tag containing P14K (strep-P14K) was over-expressed, its low expression level and low stability affect the further analysis.
We successfully expressed P14K through genetic modifications according to N-end rule and analyzed the mechanism for its difficult expression. We found that mutation of the second N-terminal amino-acid of the protein from lysine to alanine or truncating the N-terminal 16 amino-acid sequence resulted in successful expression of P14K. Moreover, fusion of a pelB leader and strep tag together (pelB-strep-P14K) at the N-terminus increased P14K expression. In addition, the pelB-strep-P14K was more stable than the strep-P14K.
Our results are not only useful for clarification of the role of P14K involved in the NHase maturation, but also helpful for heterologous expression of other difficult expression proteins.
NHase; N-end rule; Pseudomonas putida; P14K; Stability
L-ornithine is effective in the treatment of liver diseases and helps strengthen the heart. The commercial applications mean that efficient biotechnological production of L-ornithine has become increasingly necessary. Adaptive evolution strategies have been proven a feasible and efficient technique to achieve improved cellular properties without requiring metabolic or regulatory details of the strain. The evolved strains can be further optimised by metabolic engineering. Thus, metabolic evolution strategy was used for engineering Corynebacterium glutamicum to enhance L-ornithine production.
A C. glutamicum strain was engineered by using a combination of gene deletions and adaptive evolution with 70 passages of growth-based selection. The metabolically evolved C. glutamicum strain, named ΔAPE6937R42, produced 24.1 g/L of L-ornithine in a 5-L bioreactor. The mechanism used by C. glutamicum ΔAPE6937R42 to produce L-ornithine was investigated by analysing transcriptional levels of select genes and NADPH contents. The upregulation of the transcription levels of genes involved in the upstream pathway of glutamate biosynthesis and the elevated NADPH concentration caused by the upregulation of the transcriptional level of the ppnK gene promoted L-ornithine production in C. glutamicum ΔAPE6937R42.
The availability of NADPH plays an important role in L-ornithine production in C. glutamicum. Our results demonstrated that the combination of growth-coupled evolution with analysis of transcript abundances provides a strategy to engineer microbial strains for improving production of target compounds.
L-Ornithine; Corynebacterium glutamicum; Adaptive evolution; Metabolic engineering; Transcriptional level analysis
Chromobacterium violaceum is a free-living β-proteobacterium found in tropical and subtropical regions. The genomic sequencing of C. violaceum ATCC 12472 has revealed many genes that underpin its adaptability to diverse ecosystems. Moreover, C. violaceum genes with potential applications in industry, medicine and agriculture have also been identified, such as those encoding chitinases. However, none of the chitinase genes of the ATCC 12472 strain have been subjected to experimental validation. Chitinases (EC 18.104.22.168) hydrolyze the β-(1,4) linkages in chitin, an abundant biopolymer found in arthropods, mollusks and fungi. These enzymes are of great biotechnological interest as potential biocontrol agents against pests and pathogens. This work aimed to experimentally validate one of the chitinases from C. violaceum.
The open reading frame (ORF) CV2935 of C. violaceum ATCC 12472 encodes a protein (439 residues) that is composed of a signal peptide, a chitin-binding domain, a linker region, and a C-terminal catalytic domain belonging to family 18 of the glycoside hydrolases. The ORF was amplified by PCR and cloned into the expression vector pET303/CT-His. High levels of chitinolytic activity were detected in the cell-free culture supernatant of E. coli BL21(DE3) cells harboring the recombinant plasmid and induced with IPTG. The secreted recombinant protein was purified by affinity chromatography on a chitin matrix and showed an apparent molecular mass of 43.8 kDa, as estimated by denaturing polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. N-terminal sequencing confirmed the proper removal of the native signal peptide during the secretion of the recombinant product. The enzyme was able to hydrolyze colloidal chitin and the synthetic substrates p-nitrophenyl-β-D-N,N’-diacetylchitobiose and p-nitrophenyl-β-D-N,N’,N”-triacetylchitotriose. The optimum pH for its activity was 5.0, and the enzyme retained ~32% of its activity when heated to 60°C for 30 min.
A C. violaceum chitinase was expressed in E. coli and purified by affinity chromatography on a chitin matrix. The secretion of the recombinant protein into the culture medium was directed by its native signal peptide. The mature enzyme was able to hydrolyze colloidal chitin and synthetic substrates. This newly identified signal peptide is a promising secretion factor that should be further investigated in future studies, aiming to demonstrate its usefulness as an alternative tool for the extracellular production of recombinant proteins in E. coli.
Signal peptide; Chitin-binding domain; Chitinase; Heterologous; Secretion