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Animal component-free Agrobacterium tumefaciens cultivation media for better GMP-compliance increases biomass yield and pharmaceutical protein expression in Nicotiana benthamiana

: Houdelet, M.; Galinski, A.; Holland, T.; Wenzel, K.; Schillberg, S.; Buyel, J.F.

Fulltext ()

Biotechnology journal 12 (2017), No.4, Art. 1600721, 10 pp.
ISSN: 1860-6768
ISSN: 1860-7314
European Commission EC
FP7; 227420; CoMoFarm
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IME ()

Transient expression systems allow the rapid production of recombinant proteins in plants. Such systems can be scaled up to several hundred kilograms of biomass, making them suitable for the production of pharmaceutical proteins required at short notice, such as emergency vaccines. However, large-scale transient expression requires the production of recombinant Agrobacterium tumefaciens strains with the capacity for efficient gene transfer to plant cells. The complex media often used for the cultivation of this species typically include animal-derived ingredients that can contain human pathogens, thus conflicting with the requirements of good manufacturing practice (GMP). We replaced all the animal-derived components in yeast extract broth (YEB) cultivation medium with soybean peptone, and then used a design-of-experiments approach to optimize the medium composition, increasing the biomass yield while maintaining high levels of transient expression in subsequent infiltration experiments. The resulting plant peptone Agrobacterium medium (PAM) achieved a two-fold increase in OD600 compared to YEB medium during a 4-L batch fermentation lasting 18 h. Furthermore, the yields of the monoclonal antibody 2G12 and the fluorescent protein DsRed were maintained when the cells were cultivated in PAM rather than YEB. We have thus demonstrated a simple, efficient and scalable method for medium optimization that reduces process time and costs. The final optimized medium for the cultivation of A. tumefaciens completely lacks animal-derived components, thus facilitating the GMP-compliant large-scale transient expression of recombinant proteins in plants.