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Protein Expr Purif. 2007 Aug;54(2):227-33. Epub 2007 Apr 10.

Expressed protein ligation using an N-terminal cysteine containing fragment generated in vivo from a pelB fusion protein.

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Center for Prevention of Obesity, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, 5700 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland, CA 94609, USA.


Advances in expressed protein ligation (EPL) methods that permit specific introduction of unique modifications into proteins have facilitated protein engineering, structure-function and protein interaction studies. An EPL-generated hybrid exchangeable apolipoprotein has been constructed from recombinant fragments of apolipoprotein E (apoE) and apolipophorin III (apoLp-III). A recombinant fusion protein comprised of human apoE N-terminal residues 1-111, a modified Saccharomyces cerevisiae intein and a chitin binding domain was subjected to 2-mercaptoethanesulfonic acid (MESNA) induced cleavage to generate apoE(1-111)-MESNA. A second fusion protein was comprised of a bacterial pelB leader peptide fused to a variant form of Galleria mellonella apoLp-III residues 1-91. The N-terminal pelB leader sequence directed the newly synthesized fusion protein to the Escherichia coli perisplamic space where endogenous leader peptidase cleavage generated the desired N-terminal cysteine-containing protein fragment. The resulting apoLp-III fragment, which contained no sequence tags or tails, escaped the bacteria and accumulated in the culture medium. When cultured in M9 minimal medium, Asp1Cys apoLp-III(1-91) was produced in high yield and was the sole major protein in the culture supernatant. Ligation reactions with apoE(1-111)-MESNA yielded an engineered hybrid apolipoprotein. The results document the utility of the pelB fusion protein system for generating active N-terminal cysteine containing proteins for EPL applications.

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