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Quality control of inclusion bodies in Escherichia coli.

Microb Cell Fact. 2010 May 28;9(1):41

Authors: Jurgen B, Breitenstein A, Urlacher V, Buttner K, Lin H, Hecker M, Schweder T, Neubauer P

ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Bacterial inclusion bodies (IBs) are key intermediates for protein production. Their quality affects the refolding yield and further purification. Recent functional and structural studies have revealed that IBs are not dead-end aggregates but undergo dynamic changes, including aggregation, refunctionalization of the protein and proteolysis. Both, aggregation of the folding intermediates and turnover of IBs are influenced by the cellular situation and a number of well-studied chaperones and proteases are included. IBs mostly contain only minor impurities and are relatively homogenous. RESULTS: IBs of alpha-glucosidase of Saccharomyces cerevisiae after overproduction in Escherichia coli contain a large amount of (at least 12 different) major product fragments, as revealed by two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2D PAGE). Matrix-Assisted-Laser-Desorption/Ionization-Time-Of-Flight Mass-Spectrometry (MALDI-ToF MS) identification showed that these fragments contain either the N- or the C-terminus of the protein, therefore indicate that these IBs are at least partially created by proteolytic action. Expression of alpha-glucosidase in single knockout mutants for the major proteases which are known to be included in the heat shock like response to production of recombinant proteins or to the degradation of IB proteins, clpP, lon, ompT, and ftsH did not influence the fragment pattern or the composition of the IBs. The quality of the IBs was also not influenced by the sampling time, cultivation medium (complex and mineral salt medium), production strategy (shake flask, fed-batch fermentation process), production strength (T5-lac or T7 promoter), strain background (K-12 or BL21), or addition of different protease inhibitors during IB preparation. CONCLUSIONS: The recombiannt alpha-glucosidase is fragmented before aggregation, but neither by proteolytic action on the IBs by the common major proteases, nor during downstream IB preparation. Different fragments co-aggregate in the process of IB formation together with the full-length product. Other intracellular proteases than ClpP or Lon must be responsible for fragmentation. Reaggregation of protease-stable alpha-glucosidase fragments during in situ disintegration of the existing IBs does not seem to occur.

PMID: 20509924 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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