• Foreign gene expression;
  • Heterologous protein production;
  • Methylotrophic yeast;
  • Pichia pastoris;
  • Alcohol oxidase 1 gene promoter;
  • Protein secretion


During the past 15 years, the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris has developed into a highly successful system for the production of a variety of heterologous proteins. The increasing popularity of this particular expression system can be attributed to several factors, most importantly: (1) the simplicity of techniques needed for the molecular genetic manipulation of P. pastoris and their similarity to those of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, one of the most well-characterized experimental systems in modern biology; (2) the ability of P. pastoris to produce foreign proteins at high levels, either intracellularly or extracellularly; (3) the capability of performing many eukaryotic post-translational modifications, such as glycosylation, disulfide bond formation and proteolytic processing; and (4) the availability of the expression system as a commercially available kit. In this paper, we review the P. pastoris expression system: how it was developed, how it works, and what proteins have been produced. We also describe new promoters and auxotrophic marker/host strain combinations which extend the usefulness of the system.