Investigating the dynamics of recombinant protein secretion from a microalgal host

by Kyle J. Lauersen, Isabel Hubera, Julian Wichmann, Thomas Baiera, Andreas Leite, Volker Gaukel, Viktor Kartushin, Anke Rattenholl, Christian Steinweg, Lenavon Riesen, Clemens Posten, Dirk Lütkemeyer, Jan H. Mussgnug, Olaf Kruse
Article Year: 2015


Lauersen, K.J., Huber, I., Wichmann, J., Baier, T., Leiter, A., Gaukel, V., Kartushin, V., Rattenholl, A., Steinweg, C., von Riesen, L., Posten, C., Gudermann, F., Lütkemeyer, D., Mussgnug, J.H.J.H., Kruse, O., 2015a. Investigating the dynamics of recombinant protein secretion from a microalgal host. J. Biotechnol. 215, 62–71.


Production of recombinant proteins with microalgae represents an alternative platform over plant- or bacterial-based expression systems for certain target proteins. Secretion of recombinant proteins allows accumulation of the target product physically separate from the valuable algal biomass. To date, there has been little investigation into the dynamics of recombinant protein secretion from microalgal hosts—the culture parameters that encourage secreted product accumulation and stability, while encouraging biomass production. In this work, the efficiency of recombinant protein production was optimized by adjusting cultivation parameters for a strain of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii previously engineered to secrete a functional recombinant Lolium perenne ice binding protein (LpIBP), which has applications as a frozen food texturing and cryopreservation additive, into its culture medium. Three media and several cultivation styles were investigated for effects on secreted LpIBP titres and culture growth. A combination of acetate and carbon dioxide feeding with illumination resulted in the highest overall biomass and recombinant protein titres up to 10 mg L−1 in the culture medium. Pure photoautotrophic production was possible using two media types, with recombinant protein accumulation in all cultivations correlating to culture cell density. Two different cultivation systems were used for scale-up to 10 L cultivations, one of which produced yields of secreted recombinant protein up to 12 mg L−1 within six cultivation days. Functional ice recrystallization inhibition (IRI) of the LpIBP from total concentrated extracellular protein extracts was demonstrated in a sucrose solution used as a simplified ice cream model. IRI lasted up to 7 days, demonstrating the potential of secreted products from microalgae for use as food additives.


Microalgae Lolium perenne ice-binding protein recombinant protein secretion Flat-panel photobioreactor Wave-bag culture Chlamydomonas reinhardtii