Expression of a recombinant human erythropoietin in suspension cell cultures of Arabidopsis, tobacco and Medicago

Rita Sobral Abranches, Ana Sofia Pires, P. Fevereiro

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26 Citations (Scopus)


In the last two decades, the use of plants to produce recombinant proteins and particularly biopharmaceuticals has become an attractive alternative to established systems. This is due to advantages in scalability, economy and safety. In addition the expression of recombinant proteins in plants can also be achieved utilizing in vitro cell suspensions with all the advantages such systems confer, such as product consistency, production "on demand" and the ability to perform the entire process according to good manufacturing practices. In this study we have produced the glycosylated human hormone Erythropoietin (EPO), in Medicago truncatula and Arabidopsis thaliana plants and also in cultured cell lines of tobacco, Medicago and Arabidopsis. We have also tested two different versions of the protein, one with a KDEL tag for targeted expression in the Endoplasmic Reticulum, and an untagged version expected to be secreted to the apoplast. The recombinant protein was detected in the plant leaf extracts and in the cultured cell lines. In the latter, the rEPO was detected in the cell extracts and in the spent culture medium. It was possible to recover the KDEL version of rEPO from crude cell extracts by nickel affinity chromatography, however the secreted form did not bind to the Ni- agarose beads which may indicate a possible internalization of the his-tag in the folded protein. Although the yield of rEPO obtained in cell suspensions was not as high as expected, the protein was successfully produced and secreted into the culture medium, reinforcing that plant cell suspension cultures are a promising system for production of human biopharmaceuticals.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)171-181
JournalPlant Cell Tissue And Organ Culture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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