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Recombinant protein expression refers to the manufacture of proteins derived from recombinant DNA. This technique is now routinely used in molecular biology and in pharmaceutical production of protein and peptide based hormones. Many proteins that were historically derived from animal sources can now be synthesized by recombinant protein expression followed by harvesting and purifying them from host cells. However, before the start of a large scale protein expression, a small pilot scale protein expression is usually performed. Many chemically competent E. coli cells, suitable for transformation and protein expression, are now available as research kits. Other commonly used protein expression systems include cell systems derived from yeast, baculovirus/insect and mammalian cells, and more recently filamentous fungi such as commercially relevant fungus Myceliophthora thermophila. Also of note, CHO cells now appear to be the expression system of choice for the production of functional antibodies or other larger biosimilar proteins.
There are many books available for hands-on instructions on cloning and expressing proteins. Many of these books tend to simplify the science of recombinant protein expression. The required steps of DNA encoding a target protein and cloning downstream of a promoter into an expression vector followed by the introduction of the modified vector into a host cell, and the production of the desired protein by the cell’s protein synthesis machinery tend to be simplified. However, in practice, the many factors influencing this process can make the expression of a protein quite challenging. Factors such as proper protein folding, correct post-translational modification, or the insertion of the expressed protein into a biological membrane, are influenced by the selection of the expression system and may complicate the protein expression process. Furthermore, the activity of some proteins may even be detrimental to the host cells. As such, no single foolproof solution exists for the successful production of all recombinant proteins. Access to a wide range of expression tools and a willingness to explore multiple approaches are key to sucessful protein expression.
Biosynthesis Inc. has extensive expertise in the synthesis and production of biological reagents such as antibodies, oligonucleotides, peptides, proteins, recombinant proteins, and protein conjugates, as well as other research chemicals which will help you with your protein expression needs.
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