Bioengineered. 2014 May 1; 5(3): 180–185.
Published online 2014 Apr 28. doi: 10.4161/bioe.28996
Human leukemia inhibitory factor produced by the ExpressTec method from rice (Oryza sativa L.) is active in human neural stem cells and mouse induced pluripotent stem cells
Randall Alfano, Bradford A Youngblood, Deshui Zhang, Ning Huang, and Clinton C MacDonald
Stem cell-based therapy has the potential to treat an array of human diseases. However, to study the therapeutic potential and safety of these cells, a scalable cell culture medium is needed that is free of human or bovine-derived serum proteins. Thus, cost-effective recombinant serum proteins and cytokines are needed to produce such mediums. One such cytokine, leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), has been shown to be a critical paracrine factor that maintains stem cell pluripotency in murine embryonic stem cells and human naïve stem cells while simultaneously inhibiting differentiation. We recently produced recombinant human LIF (rhLIF) in a rice-based protein expression system known as ExpressTec.12 We described expression of rice-derived rhLIF and demonstrated its biological equivalency to E. coli-derived rhLIF in traditional and embryonic mouse stem cell systems. Here we describe the expression yield of rice-derived rhLIF and the scale up production capacity. We provide further evidence of the efficacy of rice-derived rhLIF in additional stem cell systems including human neural stem cells and mouse induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. The expression level, biological activity, and potential for production at commercial scale of rice-derived rhLIF provides a proof-of-principal for ExpressTec-derived proteins to produce regulatory-friendly, high performance, and dependable stem cell media.