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Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology

, Volume 38, Issue 12, pp 1879–1890 | Cite as

Microalgae as platforms for production of recombinant proteins and valuable compounds: progress and prospects

  • Yangmin Gong
  • Hanhua Hu
  • Yuan Gao
  • Xudong Xu
  • Hong Gao
Review

Abstract

Over the last few years microalgae have gained increasing interest as a natural source of valuable compounds and as bioreactors for recombinant protein production. Natural high-value compounds including pigments, long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, and polysaccharides, which have a wide range of applications in the food, feed, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical industries, are currently produced with nontransgenic microalgae. However, transgenic microalgae can be used as bioreactors for the production of therapeutic and industrially relevant recombinant proteins. This technology shows great promise to simplify the production process and significantly decrease the production costs. To date, a variety of recombinant proteins have been produced experimentally from the nuclear or chloroplast genome of transgenic Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. These include monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, hormones, pharmaceutical proteins, and others. In this review, we outline recent progress in the production of recombinant proteins with transgenic microalgae as bioreactors, methods for genetic transformation of microalgae, and strategies for highly efficient expression of heterologous genes. In particular, we highlight the importance of maximizing the value of transgenic microalgae through producing recombinant proteins together with recovery of natural high-value compounds. Finally, we outline some important issues that need to be addressed before commercial-scale production of high-value recombinant proteins and compounds from transgenic microalgae can be realized.

Keywords

Microalgae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii Phaeodactylum tricornutum Chlorella sp. Recombinant proteins Valuable compounds Genetic transformation Transgene 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors acknowledge the financial support by the Independent Foundation of the National Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. 2008FBZ19).

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Copyright information

© Society for Industrial Microbiology 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yangmin Gong
    • 1
  • Hanhua Hu
    • 1
  • Yuan Gao
    • 1
  • Xudong Xu
    • 1
  • Hong Gao
    • 1
  1. 1.The State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and BiotechnologyInstitute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina

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