Impact of protein uptake and degradation on recombinant protein secretion in yeast

Keith E J Tyo, Zihe Liu, Ylva Magnusson, Dina Petranovic, Jens Nielsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Protein titers, a key bioprocessing metric, depend both on the synthesis of protein and the degradation of protein. Secreted recombinant protein production in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is an attractive platform as minimal media can be used for cultivation, thus reducing fermentation costs and simplifying downstream purification, compared to other systems that require complex media. As such, engineering S. cerevisiae to improve titers has been then the subject of significant attention, but the majority of previous efforts have been focused on improving protein synthesis. Here, we characterize the protein uptake and degradation pathways of S. cerevisiae to better understand its impact on protein secretion titers. We do find that S. cerevisiae can consume significant (in the range of 1 g/L/day) quantities of whole proteins. Characterizing the physiological state and combining metabolomics and transcriptomics, we identify metabolic and regulatory markers that are consistent with uptake of whole proteins by endocytosis, followed by intracellular degradation and catabolism of substituent amino acids. Uptake and degradation of recombinant protein products may be common in S. cerevisiae protein secretion systems, and the current data should help formulate strategies to mitigate product loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7149-7159
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Endocytosis
  • Protein degradation
  • Protein production
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Secretion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

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