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Biochimie. 2003 Mar-Apr;85(3-4):413-22.

Expression of eukaryotic glycosyltransferases in the yeast Pichia pastoris.

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Glycobiology Division, Institut für Chemie, Universität für Bodenkultur, Muthgasse 18, A-1190 Vienna, Austria.


The methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris is often used as an organism for the heterologous expression of proteins and has been used already for production of a number of glycosyltransferases involved in the biosynthesis of N- and O-linked oligosaccharides. In our recent studies, we have examined the expression in P. pastoris of Arabidopsis thaliana and Drosophila melanogaster core alpha1,3-fucosyltransferases (EC, A. thaliana beta1,2-xylosyltransferase (EC, bovine beta1,4-galactosyltransferase I (EC, D. melanogaster peptide O-xylosyltransferase (EC, D. melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans beta1,4-galactosyltransferase VII (SQV-3; EC and tomato Lewis-type alpha1,4-fucosyltransferase (EC Temperature, cell density and medium formulation have varying effects on the amount of activity resulting from expression under the control of either the constitutive glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAP) or inducible alcohol oxidase (AOX1) promoters. In the case of the A. thaliana xylosyltransferase these effects were most pronounced, since constitutive expression at 16 degrees C resulted in 30-times more activity than inducible expression at 30 degrees C. Also, the exact nature of the constructs had an effect; whereas soluble forms of the A. thaliana xylosyltransferase and fucosyltransferase were active with N-terminal pentahistidine tags (in the former case facilitating purification of the recombinant protein to homogeneity), a C-terminally tagged form of the A. thaliana fucosyltransferase was inactive. In the case of D. melanogaster beta1,4-galactosyltransferase VII, expression with a yeast secretion signal yielded no detectable activity; however, when a full-length form of the enzyme was introduced into P. pastoris, an active secreted form of the protein was produced.

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