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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1998 Dec 1;169(1):9-15.

Dynamics of in vivo protein aggregation: building inclusion bodies in recombinant bacteria.

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Institut de Biologia Fonamental, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain.


Time-dependent aggregation of a plasmid-encoded beta-galactosidase fusion protein, VP1LAC, has been carefully monitored during its high-rate synthesis in Escherichia coli. Immediately after recombinant gene induction, the full-length form of the protein steadily accumulates into rapidly growing cytoplasmic inclusion bodies. Their volume increases during at least 5 h at a rate of 0.4 micron3 h-1, while the average density remains constant. Protein VP1LAC accounts for about 90% of the aggregated protein throughout the building process. Minor components, such as DnaK and GroEL chaperones, have been identified in variable, but low concentrations. The homogeneous distribution of inclusion bodies among the cell population and the coexistence of large, still growing bodies with newly appearing aggregates indicate that the aggregation cores are mutually exclusive, this fact being a main determinant of the in vivo dynamics of protein aggregation.

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