Purification and biological characterization of soluble, recombinant mouse IFNbeta expressed in insect cells

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Interferon beta (IFNbeta) is a member of the type I interferon family of cytokines widely recognised for their anti-viral, anti-proliferative and immunomodulatory properties. Recombinant, biologically active forms of this cytokine are used clinically for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and in laboratories to study the role of this cytokine in health and disease. Established methods for expression of IFNbeta utilise either bacterial systems from which the insoluble recombinant proteins must be refolded, or mammalian expression systems in which large volumes of cell culture are required for recovery of acceptable yields. Utilising the baculovirus expression system and Trichoplusia ni (Cabbage Looper) BTI-TN-5B1-4 cell line, we report a reproducible method for production and purification of milligram/litre quantities of biologically active murine IFNbeta. Due to the design of our construct and the eukaryotic nature of insect cells, the resulting soluble protein is secreted allowing purification of the Histidine-tagged natively-folded protein from the culture supernatant. The IFNbeta purification method described is a two-step process employing immobilised metal-ion affinity chromatography (IMAC) and reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) that results in production of significantly more purified IFNbeta than any other reported eukaryotic-based expression system. Recombinant murine IFNbeta produced by this method was natively folded and demonstrated hallmark type I interferon biological effects including antiviral and anti-proliferative activities, and induced genes characteristic of IFNbeta activity in vivo. Recombinant IFNbeta also had specific activity levels exceeding that of the commercially available equivalent. Together, our findings provide a method for production of highly pure, biologically active murine IFNbeta.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7 - 14
Number of pages8
JournalProtein Expression and Purification
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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