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ABSTRACT: Tumour necrosis factor-alpha is a pro-inflammatory cytokine involved in many aspects of acute phase and immune responses. Species specificity in the biological action and receptor binding of TNF-alpha make it desirable to use homologous reagents in experimental models, both in vivo and in vitro. As the rat is the model of choice in many investigations on fever, trauma and pathology, there is a need for specific rat reagents. In this paper, we describe the production of recombinant rat TNF-alpha in milligram quantities, using a methylotrophic yeast expression system, Pichia pastoris. Recombinant TNF-alpha was produced intracellularly in a soluble form, cells were lysed and the protein purified by ammonium sulphate precipitation, Sephadex G75 fractionation and finally, ion-exchange chromatography. The purified recombinant rat TNF-alpha had a molecular mass of 17401.38 +/- 0.38 Da, which is within 1 Da of the value predicted by the sequence data, taking into account N-acetylation of the initial methionine residue and a single disulphide bridge between amino acids 70 and 101. Recombinant rat TNF-alpha was shown to be 20 x fold more biologically active in the WEHI cytotoxicity assay, than the human standard preparation. Polyclonal antibodies were raised against purified recombinant rat TNF-alpha, these reagents were used to develop a novel enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA). The ELISA was sensitive to 10 pg.ml- 1 rat TNF-alpha and was specific for TNF-alpha, showing no cross-reactivity with rat IL-1alpha, rat IL-1beta, rat IL-1Ra or rat IL-6. The ELISA was used to measure TNF-alpha in the plasma of rats injected with bacterial endotoxin and in cultures of rat white blood cells. The ELISA was shown to be a robust method suitable for use in assaying samples generated in both in vivo or in vitro experiments.
European cytokine network 10/1999; 10(3):383-92. · 1.90 Impact Factor