High yields of stable and highly pure nucleocapsid proteins of different hantaviruses can be generated in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae

J Biotechnol. 2004 Aug 5;111(3):319-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2004.04.010.


Recently, the high-level expression of authentic and hexahistidine (His)-tagged Puumala (strain Vranica/Hällnäs) hantavirus nucleocapsid protein derivatives in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been reported [Dargeviciute et al., Vaccine, 20 (2002) 3523-3531]. Here we describe the expression of His-tagged nucleocapsid proteins of other Puumala virus strains (Sotkamo, Kazan) as well as Dobrava (strains Slovenia and Slovakia) and Hantaan (strain Fojnica) hantaviruses using the same system. All nucleocapsid proteins were expressed in the yeast S. cerevisiae at high levels. The nucleocapsid proteins can be easily purified by nickel chelate chromatography; the yield for all nucleocapsid proteins ranged from 0.5 to 1.5 mg per g wet weight of yeast cells. In general, long-term storage of all nucleocapsid proteins without degradation can be obtained by storage in PBS at -20 degrees C or lyophilization. The nucleocapsid protein of Puumala virus (strain Vranica/Hällnäs) was demonstrated to contain only traces of less than 10 pg nucleic acid contamination per 100 microg of protein. The yeast-expressed nucleocapsid proteins of Hantaan, Puumala and Dobrava viruses described here represent useful tools for serological hantavirus diagnostics and for vaccine development.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cloning, Molecular / methods
  • Hantavirus / genetics*
  • Hantavirus / metabolism*
  • Nucleocapsid Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Nucleocapsid Proteins / genetics*
  • Nucleocapsid Proteins / immunology
  • Nucleocapsid Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Protein Engineering / methods*
  • Rabbits
  • Recombinant Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*


  • Nucleocapsid Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins