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J Biotechnol. 2013 Apr 15;164(4):441-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2013.02.004. Epub 2013 Feb 16.

Enhanced secretion of biologically active, non-glycosylated VEGF from Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology, College of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 305-764, Republic of Korea.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) mediates angiogenesis, which plays a critical role in the development and differentiation of the vascular system. VEGF is a homodimeric glycoprotein that contains one N-glycosylation site. In this study, we evaluated Saccharomyces cerevisiae expression systems producing glycosylated and non-glycosylated splice variants of human VEGF, VEGF121, and VEGF165. The pre region of the mating factor α1 (MFα1) signal sequence was found to perform better than the entire MFα1 prepro signal sequence in secreting glycosylated VEGF. Secretion of non-glycosylated VEGF165 was completely blocked, indicating the importance of glycosylation in VEGF165 secretion. Interestingly, non-glycosylated VEGF165 was secreted when guided by the MFα1 prepro signal sequence, albeit to a lesser degree, compared to glycosylated VEGF165. N-glycosylation in the pro region was required for the prepro sequence to promote VEGF secretion. Furthermore, substitution of asparagine at the VEGF glycosylation site with lysine or glutamic acid increased secretion of non-glycosylated VEGF, a finding not previously reported. Our findings suggest that S. cerevisiae could be a suitable host for secreting biologically active, non-glycosylated VEGF for clinical use.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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