Overexpression of membrane proteins from higher eukaryotes in yeasts

Anita Emmerstorfer, Tamara Wriessnegger, Melanie Hirz, Harald Pichler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Heterologous expression and characterisation of the membrane proteins of higher eukaryotes is of paramount interest in fundamental and applied research. Due to the rather simple and well-established methods for their genetic modification and cultivation, yeast cells are attractive host systems for recombinant protein production. This review provides an overview on the remarkable progress, and discusses pitfalls, in applying various yeast host strains for high-level expression of eukaryotic membrane proteins. In contrast to the cell lines of higher eukaryotes, yeasts permit efficient library screening methods. Modified yeasts are used as high-throughput screening tools for heterologous membrane protein functions or as benchmark for analysing drug–target relationships, e.g., by using yeasts as sensors. Furthermore, yeasts are powerful hosts for revealing interactions stabilising and/or activating membrane proteins. We also discuss the stress responses of yeasts upon heterologous expression of membrane proteins. Through co-expression of chaperones and/or optimising yeast cultivation and expression strategies, yield-optimised hosts have been created for membrane protein crystallography or efficient whole-cell production of fine chemicals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7671-7698
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Fields of Expertise

  • Human- & Biotechnology

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Basic - Fundamental (Grundlagenforschung)
  • Application
  • Theoretical
  • Review

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