Processing of soybean (Glycine max) extracts in aqueous two-phase systems as a first step for the potential recovery of recombinant proteins
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Background: The potential use of plants as production systems to establish bioprocesses has been established over the past decade. However, the lack of efficient initial concentration and separation procedures affect the generic acceptance of plants as economically viable systems. In this context the use of aqueous two-phase systems (ATPS) can provide strategies to facilitate the adoption of plants as a base for bioprocesses. Among the crops, soybeans (Glycine max) represent an attractive alternative since potentially they can produce high levels of recombinant protein. In this paper the processing of fractionated soybean extracts using ATPS is evaluated as a first step to recover recombinant proteins expressed in plants, using ß-glucuronidase (GUS; E.C. 188.8.131.52) as a model protein. Results: The evaluation of the effect of system parameters provided the conditions under which the contaminant proteins from fractionated soybean extracts and GUS concentrated in opposite phases. A PEG 600/ phosphate system comprising 14.5% (w/w) polyethylene-glycol (PEG), 17.5% (w/w) phosphate, a volume ratio (Vr) equal to 1.0, and a system pH of 7.0 resulted in the potential 83% recovery of GUS from the complex mixture and an increase in purity of 4.5-fold after ATPS. Conclusions: The findings reported here demonstrate the potential of ATPS to process fractionated soybean extract as a first step to isolate and purify a recombinant protein expressed in soybeans. The proposed approach can simplify the way in which recombinant proteins expressed in plants can be recovered. © 2007 Society of Chemical Industry.