Algae are a promising platform for producing a broad range of bio-products including recombinant proteins for animal feed supplements or pharmaceutical applications. Scalable and low-cost production platforms are of growing importance for the development of affordable recombinant proteins, especially proteins that require large dosing regimens and/or have large patient populations. Currently, most complex recombinant therapeutic proteins are produced by mammalian cell culture, which have high capital and maintenance costs due to their complex nutritional and growth requirements. In contrast, algae have much simpler growth requirements and can be cultured in solution in a manner similar to yeast and bacteria. Dr. Stephen Mayfield from (Cal-CAB-UCSD) has already shown that algae can produce a number of non-native proteins in the algal chloroplast, several at quite high levels. For commercial viability of algae-based protein production, we need to consider both the level of protein expression as well as demonstrate that the proteins of interest have similar safety and efficacy profiles as the currently manufactured proteins. The project proposed here is focused in three aims: (i) Production of xylanases (endo-1,4-beta-xylanase and beta-xylosidase), for use as a supplement in monogastric animal feed, such as poultry and swine; (ii) Production of lactoferrin, and (iii) production of leucocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI), both present in several mucosal secretions that have antimicrobial activity that could be explored for topical therapeutic use. In addition to expression of these proteins using currently available technologies, we will investigate new strategies to optimize the production of these proteins using synthetic biology approaches for improved transcription and translation regulation.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: