UC San Diego
Developing Chlamydomonas reinhardtii for recombinant therapeutic protein production
- Author(s): Barrera, Daniel Joseph
- et al.
Advances in genetic engineering have enabled scientists to manipulate all three domains of life, and as a community we have utilized this knowledge to improve important platforms of biotechnology like agricultural crops. Now, photosynthetic microalgae present an opportunity to address several global problems including those concerning renewable energy, climate change, food and medicine. Presented here are several contributions to our understanding of the molecular genetics and biology of C. reinhardtii, and applications of these toward developing the species for recombinant therapeutic protein production. A review of the current methods of producing high-value recombinant proteins in microalgae is presented, along with a rapid screening method for revealing strains of C. reinhardtii capable of producing these proteins. The unique biochemical environment of the chloroplast is challenged to produce novel targeted anti-cancer immunotoxins that cannot be produced in existing expression systems. Additionally, the potential for edible microalgae to serve as vehicles for oral delivery of therapeutic proteins in enteric diseases is addressed. Finally, efforts toward improving C. reinhardtii as a platform for producing therapeutic proteins are presented in the form of several genetic toolsets. Fluorescent proteins were used to explore protein targeting within the cell, quantitate changes in gene regulation, and as a biomarker for generating improved strains with production platform qualities