Enhancement of cell proliferation and motility of mammalian cells grown in co-culture with Pichia pastoris expressing recombinant human FGF-2


Biomedical Sciences

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Protein Expression and Purification







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Many studies examining the biological function of recombinant proteins and their effects on the physiology of mammalian cells stipulate that the proteins be purified before being used as therapeutic agents. In this study, we explored the possibility of using unpurified recombinant proteins to treat mammalian cells. The recombinant protein was used directly from the expression source and the biological function was compared to purified commercially available, equivalent protein. The model for this purpose was recombinant FGF-2, expressed by Pichia pastoris, which was used to treat the murine fibroblast cell line, NIH/3T3. We generated a P. pastoris strain (yHL11) that constitutively secreted a biologically active recombinant FGF-2 protein containing an N-terminal c-myc epitope (Myc-FGF-2). Myc-FGF-2 was then used without purification either a) in the form of conditioned mammalian cell culture medium or b) during co-cultures of yHL11 with NIH/3T3 to induce higher proliferation and motility of NIH/3T3 cells. The effects of Myc-FGF-2 on cell physiology were comparable to commercially available FGF-2. To our knowledge, this is the first time the physiology of cultured mammalian cells had been successfully altered with a recombinant protein secreted by P. pastoris while the two species shared the same medium and culture conditions. Our data demonstrated the biological activity of unpurified recombinant FGF-2 on NIH/3T3 cells and provided a foundation for directly using unpurified recombinant proteins expressed by P. pastoris with mammalian cells, potentially as wound-healing therapeutics.