Recombinant pharmaceuticals from microbial cells: A 2015 update

Laura Sanchez-Garcia, Lucas Martín, Ramon Mangues, Neus Ferrer-Miralles, Esther Vázquez, Antonio Villaverde

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

223 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 Sanchez-Garcia et al. Diabetes, growth or clotting disorders are among the spectrum of human diseases related to protein absence or malfunction. Since these pathologies cannot be yet regularly treated by gene therapy, the administration of functional proteins produced ex vivo is required. As both protein extraction from natural producers and chemical synthesis undergo inherent constraints that limit regular large-scale production, recombinant DNA technologies have rapidly become a choice for therapeutic protein production. The spectrum of organisms exploited as recombinant cell factories has expanded from the early predominating Escherichia coli to alternative bacteria, yeasts, insect cells and especially mammalian cells, which benefit from metabolic and protein processing pathways similar to those in human cells. Up to date, around 650 protein drugs have been worldwide approved, among which about 400 are obtained by recombinant technologies. Other 1300 recombinant pharmaceuticals are under development, with a clear tendency towards engineered versions with improved performance and new functionalities regarding the conventional, plain protein species. This trend is exemplified by the examination of the contemporary protein-based drugs developed for cancer treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number33
JournalMicrobial Cell Factories
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2016


  • Biopharmaceuticals
  • Fusion proteins
  • Protein drugs
  • Recombinant DNA
  • Recombinant proteins


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