Quantitative proteomic profiling of shake flask versus bioreactor growth reveals distinct responses of Agrobacterium tumefaciens for preparation in molecular pharming

Can J Microbiol. 2021 Jan;67(1):75-84. doi: 10.1139/cjm-2020-0238. Epub 2020 Aug 26.


The preparation of Agrobacterium tumefaciens cultures with strains encoding proteins intended for therapeutic or industrial purposes is an important activity prior to treatment of plants for transient expression of valuable protein products. The rising demand for biologic products such as these underscores the expansion of molecular pharming and warrants the need to produce transformed plants at an industrial scale. This requires large quantities of A. tumefaciens culture, which is challenging using traditional growth methods (e.g., shake flask). To overcome this limitation, we investigate the use of bioreactors as an alternative to shake flasks to meet production demands. Here, we observe differences in bacterial growth among the tested parameters and define conditions for consistent bacterial culturing between shake flask and bioreactor. Quantitative proteomic profiling of cultures from each growth condition defines unique growth-specific responses in bacterial protein abundance and highlights the functional roles of these proteins, which may influence bacterial processes important for effective agroinfiltration and transformation. Overall, our study establishes and optimizes comparable growth conditions for shake flask versus bioreactors and provides novel insights into fundamental biological processes of A. tumefaciens influenced by such growth conditions.

Keywords: Agrobacterium tumefaciens; bioreactor; bioréacteur; flacon à agitation; molecular pharming; moléculture; protéomique quantitative; quantitative proteomics; shake flask.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Agrobacterium tumefaciens / growth & development*
  • Agrobacterium tumefaciens / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Batch Cell Culture Techniques / instrumentation
  • Batch Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Bioreactors / microbiology*
  • Molecular Farming / methods*
  • Proteomics


  • Bacterial Proteins