Automatic inducer addition and harvesting of recombinant Escherichia coli cultures based on indirect on-line estimation of biomass concentration and specific growth rate

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This article describes a novel bioreactor configuration for production optimization of recombinant proteins in Escherichia coli. Inducer addition and harvesting are controlled on-line based on indirect estimation of biomass concentration and specific growth rate from addition of NaOH to maintain constant pH. When either a predetermined biomass concentration is reached or the cultures have obtained, a constant specific growth rate inducer is introduced automatically. The induction period is ended by automatic harvesting of the cultures either at a predetermined biomass concentration or when substrate (in this study glucose) is depleted, detected as an increase of pH, or dissolved oxygen tension. During harvesting, metabolic activities are quenched within 3 min by cooling of the cell suspension. The system has been used to optimize expression of glutathione S-transferase (GST) fusion protein of the ligand binding domain of mouse peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor, GST-PPARalpha LBD. Total yield of GST-PPARalpha LBD was independent of the time of inducer addition as long as the length of induction period corresponded to at least 0.25 cell divisions while the yield of soluble GST-PPARalpha LBD, the only active form, increased with the length of induction period. Highest yields were obtained when the inducer was added at low cell concentration as soon as constant specific growth rate was detected, resulting in induction periods corresponding to 3.4 +/- 0.4 cell divisions. The specific growth rate remained almost constant for one cell division after inducer addition, whereafter it decreased. No decrease of specific growth rate was observed when inducer was added in the lag-phase, and no soluble protein was produced. These results suggest that solely soluble GST-PPARalpha LBD acts as a growth inhibitor and that GST-PPARalpha LBD is expressed predominantly as inclusion bodies immediately after inducer addition whereas the proportion expressed as soluble protein is increased after 1 h of induction. Compared to the procedures, which are generally used for protein expression in the laboratory, this system is less labor intensive, it automatically provides recording of biomass concentration and specific growth rate, and it allows direct comparisons between expression of different proteins and performance of different constructs since the induction period is linked to growth.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering (Print)
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)355-61
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Keywords: Animals; Biomass; Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel; Escherichia coli; Glutathione Transferase; Mice; Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear; Receptors, Retinoic Acid; Recombinant Fusion Proteins; Recombination, Genetic; Retinoid X Receptors; Transcription Factors

ID: 11254534