Current genetic engineering strategies for the production of antihypertensive ACEI peptides

Carolina N. Gomes, Diana Ferreira, João P.F. Carvalho, Carlos A. V. Barreto, Joana Fernandes, Marisol Gouveia, Fernando Ribeiro, Ana S. Duque, Sandra I. Vieira

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Hypertension is a major and highly prevalent risk factor for various diseases. Among the most frequently prescribed antihypertensive first-line drugs are synthetic angiotensin I-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI). However, since their use in hypertension therapy has been linked to various side effects, interest in the application of food-derived ACEI peptides (ACEIp) as antihypertensive agents is rapidly growing. Although promising, the industrial production of ACEIp through conventional methods such as chemical synthesis or enzymatic hydrolysis of food proteins has been proven troublesome. We here provide an overview of current antihypertensive therapeutics, focusing on ACEI, and illustrate how biotechnology and bioengineering can overcome the limitations of ACEIp large-scale production. Latest advances in ACEIp research and current genetic engineering-based strategies for heterologous production of ACEIp (and precursors) are also presented. Cloning approaches include tandem repeats of single ACEIp, ACEIp fusion to proteins/polypeptides, joining multivariate ACEIp into bioactive polypeptides, and producing ACEIp-containing modified plant storage proteins. Although bacteria have been privileged ACEIp heterologous hosts, particularly when testing for new genetic engineering strategies, plants and microalgae-based platforms are now emerging. Besides being generally safer, cost-effective and scalable, these “pharming” platforms can perform therelevant posttranslational modifications and produce (and eventually deliver) biologically active protein/peptide-based antihypertensive medicines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2610-2628
Number of pages19
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • ACEI peptides
  • functional foods
  • genetic engineering
  • hypertension
  • pharming
  • white and green biotechnology


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