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J Biol Chem. 1995 Apr 21;270(16):9322-6.

C-terminal extension of truncated recombinant proteins in Escherichia coli with a 10Sa RNA decapeptide.

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  • 1Joint Protein Structure Laboratory, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (Melbourne Branch), Parkville, Victoria, Australia.


When murine interleukin-6 is overexpressed in Escherichia coli, a small population of molecules exhibits a novel C-terminal modification. Peptide mapping, electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry, and automated N- and C-terminal sequencing identified a peptide ("tag" peptide), -Ala-Ala-Asn-Asp-Glu-Asn-Tyr-Ala-Leu-Ala-Ala-COOH, encoded by a small metabolically stable RNA of E. coli (10Sa RNA) attached to truncated C termini of the recombinant protein. A mutant strain of E. coli in which the chromosomal 10Sa RNA gene (ssrA) is disrupted does not produce this C-terminal modification, confirming that the tag peptide originates from the ssrA gene.

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