Secretion of functional human enzymes by Tetrahymena thermophila

The non-pathogenic ciliate Tetrahymena thermophila is one of the best-characterized unicellular eucaryotes used in various research fields. Previous work has shown that this unicellular organism provides many biological features to become a high-quality expression system, like multiplying to high cell densities with short generation times in bioreactors. In addition, the expression of surface antigens from the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum and the ciliate Ichthyophthirius multifiliis suggests that T. thermophila might play an important role in vaccine development. However, the expression of functional mammalian or human enzymes remains so far to be seen.