Protein Production for Biotechnology


Purified proteins are useful as experimental tools, commercial products and therapeutics for the treatment of disease. The benefits of these products are dependent on specific qualities such as protein functionality, yield and purity. To meet these protein production criteria, a vast repertoire of constructs, genetic tools, methods and host organisms has been developed to enable multiple approaches for the production of diverse protein products. Consideration of the advantages and limitations of various heterologous expression systems is necessary to ensure that the resulting proteins will be useful for the specific needs of the intended project. Multiple approaches are often evaluated to accommodate the wide diversity in protein characteristics and functions. A systematic approach is outlined for evaluation of protein properties incorporating the requirements for the intended use of protein production to provide a reliable strategy for the selection of appropriate system(s) for large‐scale protein production.

Key Concepts

  • Controlled production of purified proteins is necessary for scientific research and has many therapeutic and commercial applications.
  • The intended use of a protein product strongly influences the methods selected for protein production.
  • Each biological expression system has unique advantages, disadvantages and requirements for protein production.
  • Multiple technological approaches and hosts may be screened to meet project requirements.
  • In vitro expression methods allow for the systematic development of proteins with unique modifications or properties.
  • A large resource of technological materials in support of protein production enables the generation of products with substantial economic and scientific interest.

Keywords: recombinant protein expression; fusion tag; cell‐free; biologics; genetic engineering; protein characterisation; chemical protein synthesis

Figure 1. Overview of heterologous protein production.
Figure 2. Automation platform for high‐throughput protein production.


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Korajczyk, Peter J, Zerbs, Sarah, and Collart, Frank R(Oct 2017) Protein Production for Biotechnology. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0000983.pub3]