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Eur J Biochem. 1990 Oct 24;193(2):325-30.

Export and purification of a cytoplasmic dimeric protein by fusion to the maltose-binding protein of Escherichia coli.

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Unité de Biochimie Cellulaire (Unité de Recherche associée D1129 du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.


A hybrid between the maltose-binding protein (MalE) of Escherichia coli and the gene 5 protein (G5P) of phage M13 was constructed at the genetic level. MalE is a monomeric and periplasmic protein while G5P is dimeric and cytoplasmic. The hybrid (MalE-G5P) was synthesized in large amounts from a multicopy plasmid and efficiently exported into the periplasmic space of E. coli. The export was dependent on the integrity of the signal peptide. MalE-G5P was purified from a periplasmic extract by affinity chromatography on cross-linked amylose, with a yield larger than 50,000 molecules/E. coli cell. The hybrid specifically bound denatured but not double-stranded DNA cellulose, as native G5P. Sedimentation velocity and gel-filtration experiments showed that MalE-G5P exists as a dimer. Thus, it was possible to efficiently translocate through the membrane a normally cytoplasmic and dimeric protein, by fusion to MalE. Moreover, the passenger protein kept its activity, specificity and quaternary structure in the purified hybrid. MalE-G5P will enable the study of mutant G5P that no longer binds single-stranded DNA and therefore cannot be purified by DNA-cellulose chromatography.

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