A Cost-Effective ELP-Intein Coupling System for Recombinant Protein Purification from Plant Production Platform

Tian, Li; Sun, Samuel S. M.
August 2011
PLoS ONE;2011, Vol. 6 Issue 8, p1
Academic Journal
Background: Plant bioreactor offers an efficient and economical system for large-scale production of recombinant proteins. However, high cost and difficulty in scaling-up of downstream purification of the target protein, particularly the common involvement of affinity chromatography and protease in the purification process, has hampered its industrial scale application, therefore a cost-effective and easily scale-up purification method is highly desirable for further development of plant bioreactor. Methodology/Principal Findings: To tackle this problem, we investigated the ELP-intein coupling system for purification of recombinant proteins expressed in transgenic plants using a plant lectin (PAL) with anti-tumor bioactivity as example target protein and rice seeds as production platform. Results showed that ELP-intein-PAL (EiP) fusion protein formed novel irregular ER-derived protein bodies in endosperm cells by retention of endogenous prolamins. The fusion protein was partially self-cleaved in vivo, but only self-cleaved PAL protein was detected in total seed protein sample and deposited in protein storage vacuoles (PSV). The in vivo uncleaved EiP protein was accumulated up to 2-4.2% of the total seed protein. The target PAL protein could be purified by the ELP-intein system efficiently without using complicated instruments and expensive chemicals, and the yield of pure PAL protein by the current method was up to 1.1 mg/g total seed protein. Conclusion/Significance: This study successfully demonstrated the purification of an example recombinant protein from rice seeds by the ELP-intein system. The whole purification procedure can be easily scaled up for industrial production, providing the first evidence on applying the ELP-intein coupling system to achieve cost-effective purification of recombinant proteins expressed in plant bioreactors and its possible application in industry.


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