Protein expression in Pichia pastoris: recent achievements and perspectives for heterologous protein production

Ahmad Mudassar, Melanie Hirz, Harald Pichler, Helmut Schwab*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pichia pastoris is an established protein expression host mainly applied for the production of biopharmaceuticals and industrial enzymes. This methylotrophic yeast is a distinguished production system for its growth to very high cell densities, for the available strong and tightly regulated promoters, and for the options to produce gram amounts of recombinant protein per litre of culture both intracellularly and in secretory fashion. However, not every protein of interest is produced in or secreted by P. pastoris to such high titres. Frequently, protein yields are clearly lower, particularly if complex proteins are expressed that are hetero-oligomers, membrane-attached or prone to proteolytic degradation. The last few years have been particularly fruitful because of numerous activities in improving the expression of such complex proteins with a focus on either protein engineering or on engineering the protein expression host P. pastoris. This review refers to established tools in protein expression in P. pastoris and highlights novel developments in the areas of expression vector design, host strain engineering and screening for high-level expression strains. Breakthroughs in membrane protein expression are discussed alongside numerous commercial applications of P. pastoris derived proteins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5301-5317
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Fields of Expertise

  • Human- & Biotechnology

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Basic - Fundamental (Grundlagenforschung)
  • Application
  • Review

Cite this