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Protein Expr Purif. 2000 Jul;19(2):235-45.

Overexpression and biosynthetic deuterium enrichment of TEM-1 beta-lactamase for structural characterization by magnetic resonance methods.

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Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, The University of Chicago, Cummings Life Science Center, 920 E. 58th Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60637, USA.


An expression system has been developed that allows high levels of production of TEM-1 beta-lactamase with ease of biosynthetic incorporation of nuclear isotopes. The gene for mature TEM-1 beta-lactamase fused to the leader sequence of the ompA protein was subcloned into the pET-24a(+) vector by introduction of an NdeI restriction site at the first codon of the fused genes and transformed into Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3) cells. With protein induction at 25 degrees C supported by LB medium supplemented with osmolytes (300 mM sucrose and 2.5 mM betaine), the extracellular, mature form of wild-type TEM-1 beta-lactamase was recovered at a level of 140 mg/L. The production level of E166N, E240C, E104C, and M272C mutants depended on the mutation but was invariably higher than reported by others for expression systems of the wild-type enzyme. Comparison of different carbon sources on the efficiency of biosynthetic incorporation of covalent deuterium showed maximal (90%) incorporation with minimal medium containing 99% (2)H(2)O and sodium d(3)-acetate (99 atom% (2)H). The yield of deuterium-enriched wild-type enzyme was 80 mg/L with yields for mutants proportionally reduced. The high level of protein deuteration achieved with this system allowed detection of the hyperfine coupling between the paramagnetic nitroxyl group of a spin-labeled penicillin substrate and hydrogens on the penicillin moiety in a cryokinetically isolated acylenzyme reaction intermediate because of the decrease in overlapping resonances of active site residues. The overexpression system is readily adaptable for other target proteins and facilitates studies requiring large quantities of protein in isotopically enriched forms.

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