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Biotechnol Bioeng. 2003 Nov 5;84(3):292-304.

Co-expression of molecular chaperones does not improve the heterologous expression of mammalian G-protein coupled receptor expression in yeast.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Delaware, 259 Colburn Laboratory, Newark, DE 19716, USA.


The limitations to high-level expression of integral membrane proteins are not well understood. The human A(2)a adenosine receptor (A(2)a) and mouse Substance P receptor (SPR) were individually expressed in S. cerevisiae to identify potential cellular bottlenecks for G-protein coupled receptors. In the yeast system, A(2)a was not N-linked glycosylated but was functional and plasma membrane-localized. A(2)a also contained an intramolecular disulfide bond. Substance P receptor was also not N-linked glycosylated in yeast, but, unlike A(2)a, SPR was intracellularly retained, nonfunctional, and did not appear to contain an intramolecular disulfide bond. Since both receptors contain N-linked glycosylation and disulfide bonds in mammalian systems, machinery responsible for interacting with these modifications was investigated-specifically, the potential interactions between the nascent receptor and ER-resident proteins were explored. The chaperones calnexin and protein disulfide isomerase were co-overexpressed with the GPCRs to determine the effect on total and active yields of A(2)a and SPR, as well as on receptor trafficking. The effect of co-expressing the chaperone BiP on the total yields of A(2)a as well as intracellular fates of both receptors were determined. The co-expression of ER resident proteins did not improve A(2)a yields nor did they restore SPR activity or improve SPR cell surface expression. Taken together, these results indicate that an ER-folding bottleneck does not limit the expression of the mammalian receptors in yeast.

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