Making recombinant proteins in filamentous fungi- Are we expecting too much?

Helena Nevalainen*, Robyn Peterson

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    74 Citations (Scopus)
    77 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Hosts used for the production of recombinant proteins are typically high-protein secreting mutant strains that have been selected for a specific purpose, such as efficient production of cellulose-degrading enzymes. Somewhat surprisingly, sequencing of the genomes of a series of mutant strains of the cellulolytic Trichoderma reesei, widely used as an expression host for recombinant gene products, has shed very little light on the nature of changes that boost high-level protein secretion. While it is generally agreed and shown that protein secretion in filamentous fungi occurs mainly through the hyphal tip, there is growing evidence that secretion of proteins also takes place in sub-apical regions. Attempts to increase correct folding and thereby the yields of heterologous proteins in fungal hosts by co-expression of cellular chaperones and foldases have resulted in variable success; underlying reasons have been explored mainly at the transcriptional level. The observed physiological changes in fungal strains experiencing increasing stress through protein overexpression under strong gene promoters also reflect the challenge the host organisms are experiencing. It is evident, that as with other eukaryotes, fungal endoplasmic reticulum is a highly dynamic structure. Considering the above, there is an emerging body of work exploring the use of weaker expression promoters to avoid undue stress. Filamentous fungi have been hailed as candidates for the production of pharmaceutically relevant proteins for therapeutic use. One of the biggest challenges in terms of fungally produced heterologous gene products is their mode of glycosylation; fungi lack the functionally important terminal sialylation of the glycans that occurs in mammalian cells. Finally, exploration of the metabolic pathways and fluxes together with the development of sophisticated fermentation protocols may result in new strategies to produce recombinant proteins in filamentous fungi.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number75
    Pages (from-to)1-10
    Number of pages10
    JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
    Volume5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Bibliographical note

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