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J Mol Biol. 2002 Oct 11;323(1):115-23.

Directed evolution of barnase stability using proteolytic selection.

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University of Aarhus, Department of Molecular and Structural Biology, Gustav Wieds Vej 10C, 8000, Aarhus C, Denmark.


We report the construction of a phage-displayed repertoire of mutants of the ribonuclease barnase from Bacillus amyloliquefaciens. The construction was guided by the natural variability between two closely related ribonucleases, barnase and binase from Bacillus intermedius. This repertoire was selected using a proteolytic selection method, allowing sorting of the library according to the resistance of the mutants toward proteolysis. Susceptibility toward proteolysis has been correlated with flexibility and unfolding, and is thus expected to yield mutants with increased thermal stability. Enrichment of barnase mutants with specific combinations of amino acid residues at four of the randomised positions was observed. Three of these enriched amino acid residues are present in neither barnase nor binase. For some of the mutations, the improvement in proteolytic stability does not lead to a pronounced improvement in thermodynamic stability, indicating that the factors governing the proteolytic stability in some cases may be different from those governing the thermodynamic stability, e.g. propensity to local unfolding.The results obtained add important knowledge to a novel use of phage display technology for selection of thermodynamically stable proteins. Only by carefully establishing the parameters that can be adjusted, and recognising the influence this will have on the outcome of selection, will it be possible to realise the powerful technique of proteolytic selection.

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