The effect of medium supplementation on heterologous production of human serum transferrin (hTF) in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe has been investigated. The productivity of recombinant hTF was low in wild-type S. pombe cells. To overcome this impediment, culture media supplements were screened for their ability to improve secretion of hTF. Casamino acids (CAA), which have been reported to increase heterologous protein productivity in Pichia pastoris, improved the secretion hTF by more than fourfold. An anion surfactant deoxycholate or polyethylene glycol also improved the secretion hTF. Interestingly, dextran sodium sulfate (DSS), a poly-anion surfactant, was found to enhance production of secreted hTF better than any other supplement tested. Addition of DSS in the presence of 2% CAA exhibited a synergistic effect on increasing hTF secretion, resulting in an increase of about sevenfold relative to conventional conditions. Cell growth was not found to be affected by the addition of DSS or CAA. DSS may act as a surfactant and may also facilitate the anchoring of liposomes, and these properties may contribute to efficient secretion or exocytosis through the plasma membrane.
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