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Nucleic Acids Res. 1984 May 11;12(9):3937-50.

The influence of messenger RNA secondary structure on expression of an immunoglobulin heavy chain in Escherichia coli.


A gene for murine mu heavy chain immunoglobulin has been inserted into a bacterial expression plasmid containing the Escherichia coli trp promoter and ribosome binding site. A low level expression of mu protein was detected. Secondary structure analysis showed the presence of a hairpin loop burying the mu initiation codon. Alteration of secondary structure at this site by oligonucleotide replacement mutagenesis revealed a correlation between mu expression levels and accessibility of the ribosome binding site. Abolition of secondary structure increased mu protein expression over ninety-fold, to a level approximately equal to that of a trpE -mu fusion protein using the native trpE ribosome binding site.

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