Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Produce Human Hormone Precursor in Pichia pastoris

January 25, 2017

Relaxin, a reproductive hormone, possesses other therapeutically useful properties, making it a potential drug for diverse medical applications. Since extraction of relaxin from animal tissues raises several issues, Escherichia coli was used as a host for human relaxin expression. However, relaxin precipitated in the form of inclusion bodies and requiring several expensive recovery steps before in can be obtained.

Donatella Cimini of the Second University of Naples and University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli in Italy, together with her team, demonstrated the production of human pro-relaxin, relaxin's precursor, by using the yeast Pichia pastoris as expression host. The methanol inducible promoter AOX1 was used to drive the expression of the native and histidine tagged forms of pro-relaxin H2. Both protein forms expressed had the correct structure and demonstrated to be biologically-active.

This strategy for microbial production of recombinant human pro-relaxin using Pichia pastoris as a platform holds great potential for future researches on the medical applications of relaxin.

For more information on this study, read the article in BMC Biotechnology.