The ultimate overexpression of a protein could cause growth defects, which are known as the protein burden. However, the expression limit at which the protein-burden effect is triggered is still unclear. To estimate this limit, we systematically measured the overexpression limits of glycolytic proteins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The limits of some glycolytic proteins were up to 15% of the total cellular protein. These limits were independent of the proteins’ catalytic activities, a finding that was supported by an in silico analysis. Some proteins had low expression limits that were explained by their localization and metabolic perturbations. The codon usage should be highly optimized to trigger the protein-burden effect, even under strong transcriptional induction. The S–S-bond-connected aggregation mediated by the cysteine residues of a protein might affect its expression limit. Theoretically, only non-harmful proteins could be expressed up to the protein-burden limit. Therefore, we established a framework to distinguish proteins that are harmful and non-harmful upon overexpression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)