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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2002 Oct;68(10):4979-85.

Excretion of human beta-endorphin into culture medium by using outer membrane protein F as a fusion partner in recombinant Escherichia coli.

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  • 1Metabolic and Biomolecular Engineering National Research Laboratory, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and BioProcess Engineering Research Center, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-701, Korea.


Escherichia coli BL21 strains were found to excrete a large amount of outer membrane protein F (OmpF) into culture medium during high-cell-density cultivation. From this interesting phenomenon, a novel and efficient OmpF fusion system was developed for the excretion of recombinant proteins by E. coli. The ompF gene of E. coli BL21(DE3) was first knocked out by using the red operon of bacteriophage lambda to construct E. coli MBEL-BL101. For the excretion of human beta-endorphin as a model protein, the beta-endorphin gene was fused to the C terminus of the E. coli ompF gene by using a linker containing the Factor Xa recognition site. To develop a fed-batch culture condition that allows efficient production of OmpF-beta-endorphin fusion protein, three different feeding strategies, an exponential feeding strategy and two pH-stat strategies with defined and complex nutrient feeding solutions, were examined. Among these, the pH-stat feeding strategy with the complex nutrient feeding solution resulted in the highest productivity (0.33 g of protein per liter per h). Under this condition, up to 5.6 g of OmpF-beta-endorphin fusion protein per liter was excreted into culture medium. The fusion protein was purified by anion-exchange chromatography and cleaved by Factor Xa to yield beta-endorphin, which was finally purified by reverse-phase chromatography. From 2.7 liters of culture supernatant, 545.4 mg of beta-endorphin was obtained.

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