Research Article

Effect of codon optimization on expression levels of human cystatin C in Pichia pastoris

Published: July 04, 2014
Genet. Mol. Res. 13 (3) : 4990-5000 DOI: 10.4238/2014.July.4.14

Abstract

Human cystatin C (CysC) is a cysteine proteinase inhibitor with many potential applications. To facilitate further studies of the functions and applications of CysC, we improved the heterologous expression of CysC using a basic codon optimization method. In this study, we cloned the high-GC content wild-type sequence of the CysC gene and also designed a slightly AT-biased sequence, with codons optimized for expression in the Pichia pastoris GS115 strain. Our results showed that the optimized coding sequence of human CysC increased the expression and secretion of the CysC protein by approximately 3- to 5-fold (90-96 mg CysC/L) in yeast, compared with the expression levels of the native CysC gene (17.9-18.4 mg CysC/L). We designed, constructed, and applied an optimized version of the CysC gene for the Pichia expression system. Our results demonstrate that the optimized coding sequence provides a higher yield of secreted CysC than that produced using the wild-type gene. Our data also serve as a practical example demonstrating a rational design strategy for the heterologous expression of secreted proteins.

Human cystatin C (CysC) is a cysteine proteinase inhibitor with many potential applications. To facilitate further studies of the functions and applications of CysC, we improved the heterologous expression of CysC using a basic codon optimization method. In this study, we cloned the high-GC content wild-type sequence of the CysC gene and also designed a slightly AT-biased sequence, with codons optimized for expression in the Pichia pastoris GS115 strain. Our results showed that the optimized coding sequence of human CysC increased the expression and secretion of the CysC protein by approximately 3- to 5-fold (90-96 mg CysC/L) in yeast, compared with the expression levels of the native CysC gene (17.9-18.4 mg CysC/L). We designed, constructed, and applied an optimized version of the CysC gene for the Pichia expression system. Our results demonstrate that the optimized coding sequence provides a higher yield of secreted CysC than that produced using the wild-type gene. Our data also serve as a practical example demonstrating a rational design strategy for the heterologous expression of secreted proteins.