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BMB Rep. 2010 May;43(5):319-24.

Retrospective analyses of the bottleneck in purification of eukaryotic proteins from Escherichia coli as affected by molecular weight, cysteine content and isoelectric point.

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Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology, Korea.


Experimental bioinformatics data obtained from an E. coli cell-based eukaryotic protein purification experiment were analyzed in order to identify any bottleneck as well as the factors affecting the target purification. All targets were expressed as His-tagged maltose-binding protein (MBP) fusion constructs and were initially purified by immobilized metal affinity chromatography (IMAC). The targets were subsequently separated from the His-tagged MBP through TEV protease cleavage followed by a second IMAC isolation. Of the 743 total purification trials, 342 yielded more than 3 mg of target proteins for structural studies. The major reason for failure of target purification was poor TEV proteolysis. The overall success rate for target purification decreased linearly as cysteine content or isoelectric point (pI) of the target increased. This pattern of pI versus overall success rate strongly suggests that pI should be incorporated into target scoring criteria with a threshold value.

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