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Algae platform for production of recombinant proteins

Grant number: 17/08870-5
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): November 15, 2017
Effective date (End): November 14, 2018
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Pharmacy
Principal researcher:Augusto Ducati Luchessi
Grantee:Augusto Ducati Luchessi
Host: Stephen Mayfield
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Aplicadas (FCA). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Limeira , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego), United States  


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.

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