Technological watch

A biotechnological approach for the production of new protein bioplastics

AbstractThe future of biomaterial production will leverage biotechnology based on the domestication of cells as biological factories. Plants, algae and bacteria can produce low?environmental impact biopolymers. Here, we have developed two strategies to produce a biopolymer derived from a bioengineered vacuolar storage protein of the common bean (phaseolin; PHSL). The cys?added PHSL* forms linear?structured biopolymers when expressed in the thylakoids of transplastomic tobacco leaves by exploiting the formation of inter?chain disulfide bridges. The same protein without signal peptide (?PHSL*) accumulates in E. coli inclusion bodies as high?molar?mass species polymers that can subsequently be oxidized to form disulfide crosslinking bridges in order to increase the stiffness of the biomaterial, a valid alternative to the use of chemical crosslinkers. The E. coli cells produced 300 times more engineered PHSL, measured as percentage of total soluble proteins, than transplastomic tobacco plants. Moreover, the thiol groups of cysteine allow the site?specific PEGylation of ?PHSL*, which is a desirable functionality in the design of a protein?based drug carrier. In conclusion, ?PHSL* expressed in E. coli has the potential to become an innovative biopolymer.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

Publication date: 06/10/2023



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.