Plasmids are important vectors for the transfer of genetic material among microbes. The transfer of plasmids causes transmission of genes involved in pathogenesis and survival, to the host bacteria leading to their evolution and adaptation to diverse environmental conditions. A large number of plasmids of varying sizes have been discovered and isolated from various microorganisms. Plasmids are also valuable tools to genetically manipulate microbes for various purposes including production of recombinant proteins. Escherichia coli is the most preferred microbe for production of recombinant proteins, due to rapid growth rate, cost-effectiveness, high yield of the recombinant proteins and easy scale-up process. Several plasmids have been designed to optimize the expression of heterologous proteins in E. coli. In order to circumvent the issues of protein refolding, the codon usage in E. coli, the absence of post-translational modifications, such as glycosylation and low recovery of functionally active recombinant proteins, various plasmids have been designed and constructed. This chapter summarizes the recent technological advancements that have extended the use of the E. coli expression system to produce more complex proteins, including glycosylated recombinant proteins and therapeutic antibodies.
Part of the book: Plasmid