Secretory Production of Biologically Active Human Thrombopoietin by Baculovirus Expression System

  • Koh, Yeo-Wook (Department of Life Science, Sogang University) ;
  • Lim, Seung-Wook (R&D Center, Daewoong Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.) ;
  • Park, Seung-Kook (R&D Center, Daewoong Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.) ;
  • Park, Myung-Hwan (R&D Center, Daewoong Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.) ;
  • Na, Doe-Sun (Department of Biochemistry, University of Ulsan) ;
  • Yang, Jai-Myung (Department of Life Science, Sogang University)
  • Received : 1998.05.11
  • Accepted : 1998.06.08
  • Published : 1998.09.30


Human thrombopoietin (hTPO) was expressed to high levels in insect cells using the baculovirus expression system. Full-length hTPO cDNA containing a native signal peptide sequence was amplified by PCR from a human fetal liver cDNA library and cloned into the Autographa californica nuclear polyhedrosis virus (AcNPV) expression vector. Immunoblot analysis with antiserum against hTPO indicated that an approximately 55 kDa protein was produced in recombinant AcNPV infected insect cells. Recombinant hTPO was produced 4-fold higher in Trichoplusia ni (Tn5) cells than in Spodoptera frugiperda (Sf9) cells. with most of the hTPO produced in Tn5 cells secreted into the culture medium. Addition of tunicamycin in the culture medium resulted in the reduction of the size of hTPO to 35-38 kDa, and most of the protein remained within the cell. These results suggest that N-glycosylation of hTPO is required for the secretion of the protein into the culture medium in insect cells. hTPO produced in insect cells induced proliferation and maturation of megakaryocyte progenitors, indicating that it is in a biologically active form.


CFU-Meg;Human thrombopoietin;N-glycosylation;Tn5 cells;Tunicamycin