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Biomacromolecules. 2007 May;8(5):1417-24. Epub 2007 Apr 4.

Improved non-chromatographic purification of a recombinant protein by cationic elastin-like polypeptides.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Box 90281, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708-0281, USA.


This paper reports an improvement in the purification of thioredoxin (Trx) expressed from E. coli by inverse transition cycling (ITC) using cationic elastin-like polypeptides (ELPs). Two ELP libraries having 2% and 5% lysine residues and molecular weights ranging from 4 to 61.1 kDa showed greater salt sensitivity in their inverse transition behavior than purely aliphatic ELPs. Expression yield of Trx-ELP fusions was an unpredictable function of guest residue composition, but reducing the molecular weight of the ELP tag generally increased Trx yield. A cationic 4.3 kDa ELP is the shortest ELP used to purify any protein by ITC to date. A 15.9 kDa ELP with a guest residue composition of K:V:F of 1:7:1 was found to be the optimal cationic tag to purify Trx, as it provided 50% greater Trx yield and only required one-fifth the added NaCl for purification of Trx as compared to previously used aliphatic ELP tags.

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