Design of transgenes for efficient expression of active chimeric proteins on mammalian cells

Kuang-Wen Liao, Wan Chih Chou, Yu Chih Lo, Steve R. Roffler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Heterologous proteins expressed on the surface of cells may be useful for eliciting therapeutic responses and engineering new extracellular properties. We examined factors that control the membrane targeting of α-fetoprotein (AFP) and a single-chain antibody (scFv). Chimeric proteins were targeted to the plasma membrane by employing the transmembrane domain (TM) and cytosolic tail of murine CD80 (B7-1), the TM of the human platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR), the glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor encoded by the C-terminal extension of decay-accelerating factor (DAF), and the TM of the H1 subunit of the human asialoglycoprotein receptor (ASGPR). AFP chimeric proteins containing the B7, DAF, ASGPR, or PDGFR targeting domains displayed half-lives of 12.2, 3.8, 2.4, and 1.6 h, respectively. The newly synthesized B7 chimera was rapidly transported and remained on the cell surface. Glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored chimeras reached the surface more slowly and significant amounts were released into the culture medium. PDGFR TM chimeras were rapidly degraded, whereas ASGPR chimeras were retained in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). The surface expression of both AFP and scFv chimeric proteins followed the order (highest to lowest) of B7 > DAF ≫ PDGFR. Introduction of a dimerization domain (hinge - CH2 - CH3 region of human IgG1) between scFv and TM dramatically reduced cleavage of the chimeric protein, increased surface expression, and produced biologically active scFv. Our results indicate that transgenes designed for the expression of active scFv on cells should incorporate a TM that does not undergo endocytosis, include an intact cytoplasmic domain, and possess a spacer to reduce cleavage and retain biological activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-323
Number of pages11
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - 20 May 2001


  • Chimeric protein
  • Single-chain antibody
  • Spacer
  • Surface expression
  • Transmembrane domain

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Design of transgenes for efficient expression of active chimeric proteins on mammalian cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this