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Biochem J. 1996 Aug 1;317 ( Pt 3):891-9.

Purification of a rat neurotensin receptor expressed in Escherichia coli.

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  • 1Centre for Protein Engineering/MRC Centre, Cambridge, U.K.


A truncated rat neurotensin receptor (NTR), expressed in Escherichia coli with the maltose-binding protein fused to its N-terminus and the 13 amino acid Bio tag fused to its C-terminus, was purified to apparent homogeneity in two steps by use of the monomeric avidin system followed by a novel neurotensin column. This purification protocol was developed by engineering a variety of affinity tags on to the C-terminus of NTR. Surprisingly, expression levels varied considerably depending on the C-terminal tag used. Functional expression of NTR was highest (800 receptors/cell) when thioredoxin was placed between the receptor C-terminus and the tag, indicating a stabilizing effect of the thioredoxin moiety. Several affinity chromatography methods were tested for purification. NTR with the in vivo-biotinylated Bio tag was purified with the highest efficiency compared with NTR with the Strep tag or a hexa-histidine tail. Co-expression of biotin ligase improved considerably the in vivo biotinylation of the Bio tag and, therefore, the overall purification yield. Proteolysis of the NTR fusion protein was prevented by removing a protease-sensitive site discovered at the N-terminus of NTR. The ligand binding properties of the purified receptor were similar to those of the membrane-bound protein and the native receptor. The scale-up of this purification scheme, to provide sufficient protein for biophysical studies, is in progress.

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