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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Expression of recombinant staphylokinase in the methylotrophic yeast Hansenula polymorpha

Manal Moussa1, Mahmoud Ibrahim1, Maria El Ghazaly1, Jan Rohde1, Stefan Gnoth2, Andreas Anton2, Frank Kensy3 and Frank Mueller1*

Author Affiliations

1 Minapharm Pharmaceuticals, Cairo, Egypt

2 Scil Proteins, Halle, Germany

3 m2p-Labs, Baesweiler, Germany

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BMC Biotechnology 2012, 12:96  doi:10.1186/1472-6750-12-96

Published: 19 December 2012

Abstract

Background

Currently, the two most commonly used fibrinolytic agents in thrombolytic therapy are recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) and streptokinase (SK). Whereas SK has the advantage of substantially lower costs when compared to other agents, it is less effective than either rt-PA or related variants, has significant allergenic potential, lacks fibrin selectivity and causes transient hypotensive effects in high dosing schedules. Therefore, development of an alternative fibrinolytic agent having superior efficacy to SK, approaching that of rt-PA, together with a similar or enhanced safety profile and advantageous cost-benefit ratio, would be of substantial importance. Pre-clinical data suggest that the novel fibrinolytic recombinant staphylokinase (rSAK), or related rSAK variants, could be candidates for such development. However, since an efficient expression system for rSAK is still lacking, it has not yet been fully developed or evaluated for clinical purposes. This study’s goal was development of an efficient fermentation process for the production of a modified, non-glycosylated, biologically active rSAK, namely rSAK-2, using the well-established single cell yeast Hansenula polymorpha expression system.

Results

The development of an efficient large scale (80 L) Hansenula polymorpha fermentation process of short duration for rSAK-2 production is described. It evolved from an initial 1mL HTP methodology by successive scale-up over almost 5 orders of magnitude and improvement steps, including the optimization of critical process parameters (e.g. temperature, pH, feeding strategy, medium composition, etc.). Potential glycosylation of rSAK-2 was successfully suppressed through amino acid substitution within its only N-acetyl glycosylation motif. Expression at high yields (≥ 1g rSAK-2/L cell culture broth) of biologically active rSAK-2 of expected molecular weight was achieved.

Conclusion

The optimized production process described for rSAK-2 in Hansenula polymorpha provides an excellent, economically superior, manufacturing platform for a promising therapeutic fibrinolytic agent.

Keywords:
Staphylokinase; Hansenula polymorpha; Recombinant protein; Fermentation; Scale-up; HTP