Therapeutic protein production in yeast is a reality in industry with an untapped potential to expand to more complex proteins, such as full-length antibodies. Despite numerous engineering approaches, cellular limitations are preventing the use of Saccharomyces cerevisiae as the titers of recombinant antibodies are currently not competitive. Instead of a host specific approach, the possibility of adopting the features from native producers of antibodies, plasma cells, to improve antibody production in yeast. A subset of mammalian folding factors upregulated in plasma cells for expression in yeast and screened for beneficial effects on antibody secretion using a high-throughput ELISA platform was selected. Co-expression of the mammalian chaperone BiP, the co-chaperone GRP170, or the peptidyl-prolyl isomerase FKBP2, with the antibody improved specific product yields up to two-fold. By comparing strains expressing FKBP2 or the yeast PPIase Cpr5p, the authors demonstrate that speeding up peptidyl-prolyl isomerization by upregulation of catalyzing enzymes is a key factor to improve antibody titers in yeast. The findings show that following the route of plasma cells can improve product titers and contribute to developing an alternative yeast-based antibody factory.
- Protein folding
- Synthetic biology