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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1999 Jan;65(1):53-60.

Use of the KlADH4 promoter for ethanol-dependent production of recombinant human serum albumin in Kluyveromyces lactis.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Pasteur Institute-Cenci Bolognetti Foundation, University of Rome "La Sapienza," 00185 Rome, Italy.


KlADH4 is a gene of Kluyveromyces lactis encoding a mitochondrial alcohol dehydrogenase activity which is specifically induced by ethanol. The promoter of this gene was used for the expression of heterologous proteins in K. lactis, a very promising organism which can be used as an alternative host to Saccharomyces cerevisiae due to its good secretory properties. In this paper we report the ethanol-driven expression in K. lactis of the bacterial beta-glucuronidase and of the human serum albumin (HSA) genes under the control of the KlADH4 promoter. In particular, we studied the extracellular production of recombinant HSA (rHSA) with integrative and replicative vectors and obtained a significant increase in the amount of the protein with multicopy vectors, showing that no limitation of KlADH4 trans-acting factors occurred in the cells. By deletion analysis of the promoter, we identified an element (UASE) which is sufficient for the induction of KlADH4 by ethanol and, when inserted in the respective promoters, allows ethanol-dependent activation of other yeast genes, such as PGK and LAC4. We also analyzed the effect of medium composition on cell growth and protein secretion. A clear improvement in the production of the recombinant protein was achieved by shifting from batch cultures (0.3 g/liter) to fed-batch cultures (1 g/liter) with ethanol as the preferred carbon source.

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