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Nucleic Acids Res. 2007;35(6):e43. Epub 2007 Feb 20.

Vectors for co-expression of an unrestricted number of proteins.

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Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Department of Vertebrate Genomics, Berlin, Germany.


A vector system is presented that allows generation of E. coli co-expression clones by a standardized, robust cloning procedure. The number of co-expressed proteins is not limited. Five 'pQLink' vectors for expression of His-tag and GST-tag fusion proteins as well as untagged proteins and for cloning by restriction enzymes or Gateway cloning were generated. The vectors allow proteins to be expressed individually; to achieve co-expression, two pQLink plasmids are combined by ligation-independent cloning. pQLink co-expression plasmids can accept an unrestricted number of genes. As an example, the co-expression of a heterotetrameric human transport protein particle (TRAPP) complex from a single plasmid, its isolation and analysis of its stoichiometry are shown. pQLink clones can be used directly for pull-down experiments if the proteins are expressed with different tags. We demonstrate pull-down experiments of human valosin-containing protein (VCP) with fragments of the autocrine motility factor receptor (AMFR). The cloning method avoids PCR or gel isolation of restriction fragments, and a single resistance marker and origin of replication are used, allowing over-expression of rare tRNAs from a second plasmid. It is expected that applications are not restricted to bacteria, but could include co-expression in other hosts such as Bacluovirus/insect cells.

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