Selecting the Ideal Protein Expression Host System

Recombinant protein expression technology enables various downstream applications, including analysis of gene regulation, protein structure and function, protein-protein interactions, and antibody generation. Using the right protein expression system for your specific application can be critical for success.

Functionality, solubility, speed, and yield are often the most important factors to consider when choosing a protein expression system. We offer a wide variety of protein expression systems, so you’ll be sure to find one that meets your needs. The following table summarizes some of the key characteristics of the most popular protein expression host systems.

Select the best expression host for your work!

Host System Advantages Challenges
Cell-Free Expression (in vitro)
  • Scalable
  • Simple format
  • Rapid expression directly from plasmid
  • Open system—easily add components to enhance solubility or functionality
  • Large-scale expression > 3 mg
Bacterial Expression
  • Scalable
  • Low cost
  • Simple culture conditions
  • Protein solubility
  • Minimal posttranslational modifications
  • May be difficult to express functional mammalian proteins
Yeast Expression
  • Eukaryotic protein processing
  • Scalable up to fermentation (grams per liter)
  • Simple media requirements
  • Fermentation required for very high yields
  • Growth conditions may require optimization
Algae Expression
  • Genetic modification and expression systems for photosynthetic microalgae
  • Superb experimental control for biofuel, nutraceuticals and specialty chemical production
  • Optimized system for robust selection and expression
Insect Expression
  • Postranslational modifications similar to mammalian systems
  • Greater yield than mammalian systems
  • More demanding culture conditions
Mammalian Expression
  • Highest level of correct post-translational modifications
  • Highest probability of obtaining fully functional human proteins
  • Multimilligram per liter yields only possible in suspension cultures
  • More demanding culture conditions