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Protein Expr Purif. 1993 Apr;4(2):95-100.

One-step affinity isolation of recombinant protein using the baculovirus/insect cell expression system.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, University of Alabama, Birmingham 35294.


We have developed two baculovirus transfer vectors which allow single-step affinity isolation of recombinant proteins after expression in insect cells. Using these vectors, recombinant proteins are synthesized as fusions with glutathione-S-transferase and are amenable to enrichment from a crude insect cell lysate using glutathione affinity agarose. After affinity isolation, glutathione-S-transferase can be cleaved from the recombinant polypeptides of interest at an engineered thrombin cleavage site. We used this approach to successfully isolate glutathione-S-transferase, the human low density lipoprotein receptor, two large polypeptides containing cytoplasmic domains of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), and the full-length CFTR. The approach has potential advantages over prokaryotic overexpression of foreign polypeptides, including: (i) eukaryotic post-translational modification of expressed protein, (ii) increased solubility of recombinant fusion proteins synthesized in insect cells leading to increased affinity yield under mild conditions, and (iii) production of large and/or complex polypeptides which might be difficult to purify from prokaryotic cells. The method also allows enrichment of recombinant protein representing a small fraction (less than 5%) of total insect cell protein produced and provides a general method for eukaryotic protein synthesis and isolation which is independent of the particular protein being expressed.

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