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Cell-free protein expression based on extracts from CHO cells

: Brödel, A.K.; Sonnabend, A.; Kubick, S.


Biotechnology & bioengineering 111 (2014), Nr.1, S.25-36
ISSN: 0006-3592
ISSN: 1097-0290
Fraunhofer IBMT ()

Protein expression systems are widely used in biotechnology and medicine for the efficient and economic production of therapeutic proteins. Today, cultivated Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells are the market dominating mammalian cell-line for the production of complex therapeutic proteins. Despite this outstanding potential of CHO cells, no high-yield cell-free system based on translationally active lysates from these cells has been reported so far. To date, CHO cell extracts have only been used as a foundational research tool for understanding mRNA translation (Lodish et al., 1974; McDowell et al., 1972). In the present study, we address this fact by establishing a novel cell-free protein expression system based on extracts from cultured CHO cells. Lysate preparation, adaptation of in vitro reaction conditions and the construction of particular expression vectors are considered for high-yield protein production. A specific in vitro expression vector, which includes an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) from the intergenic region (IGR) of the Cricket paralysis virus (CrPV), has been constructed in order to obtain optimal performance. The IGR IRES is supposed to bind directly to the eukaryotic 40S ribosomal subunit thereby bypassing the process of translation initiation, which is often a major bottleneck in cell-free systems. The combination of expression vector and optimized CHO cell extracts enables the production of approximately 50 µg/mL active firefly luciferase within 4 h. The batch-type cell-free coupled transcription–translation system has the potential to perform post-translational modifications, as shown by the glycosylation of erythropoietin. Accordingly, the system contains translocationally active endogenous microsomes, enabling the co-translational incorporation of membrane proteins into biological membranes. Hence, the presented in vitro translation system is a powerful tool for the fast and convenient optimization of expression constructs, the specific labeling of integral membrane proteins and the cell-free production of posttranslationally modified proteins.