Biotechnol Rep (Amst). 2022 May 13;35:e00736. doi: 10.1016/j.btre.2022.e00736. eCollection 2022 Sep.
The commonly used host for industrial production of recombinant proteins Pichia pastoris, has been used in this work to produce the rabies virus glycoprotein (RABV-G). To allow a constitutive expression and the secretion of the expressed recombinant RABV-G, the PichiaPink™ commercialized expression vectors were modified to contain the constitutive GAP promoter and the α secretion signal sequences. Recombinant PichiaPink™ strains co-expressing the RABV-G and the protein chaperone PDI, have been then generated and screened for the best producer clone. The influence of seven carbon sources on the expression of the RABV-G, has been studied under different culture conditions in shake flask culture. An incubation temperature of 30°C under an agitation rate of 250 rpm in a filling volume of 10:1 flask/culture volume ratio were the optimal conditions for the RABV-G production in shake flask for all screened carbon sources. A bioreactor Fed batch culture has been then carried using glycerol and glucose as they were good carbon sources for cell growth and RABV-G production in shake flask scale. Cells were grown on glycerol during the batch phase then fed with glycerol or glucose defined solutions, a final RABV-G concentration of 2.7 µg/l was obtained with a specific product yield (YP/X) of 0.032 and 0.06 µg/g(DCW) respectively. The use of semi-defined feeding solution enhanced the production and the YP/X to 12.9 µg/l and 0.135 µg/g(DCW) respectively. However, the high cell density favored by these carbon sources resulted in oxygen limitation which influenced the glycosylation pattern of the secreted RABV-G. Alternatively, the use of sucrose as substrate for RABV-G production in large scale culture, resulted in less biomass production and a YP/X of 0.310 µg/g(DCW) was obtained. A cation exchange chromatography was then used for RABV-G purification as one step method. The purified protein was correctly folded and glycosylated and able to adopt trimeric conformation. The knowledges gained through this work offer a valuable insight into the bioprocess design of RABV-G production in Pichia pastoris to obtain a correctly folded protein which can be used during an immunization proposal for subunit Rabies vaccine development.