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Recombinant expression of proteins in the periplasm of E. coli is frequently used for proteins containing disulfide bonds that are essential for protein folding and activity, as the cytosol of E. coli constitutes a reducing environment. The periplasm in contrast is an oxidative environment which supports proper protein folding. However, yields can be limited compared with cytoplasmic expression, and protocols must be adjusted to avoid overloading the periplasmic transportation machinery. Another less-appreciated issue with periplasmic expression is the potential generation of unwanted N-terminal cleavage products, a persistent issue which we encountered when expressing the disulfide bond containing extracellular regions of several Helicobacter pylori adhesins (BabA, BabB, BabC, and LabA) in the periplasm of E. coli XL10 GOLD, a strain traditionally not used for proteins expression. Here, we describe how introducing a C-terminal hexa-lysine (6 K) tag enhanced solubility and protected BabA from N-terminal proteolytic degradation (BabA), enabling crystallization and subsequent X-ray structural analysis. However. the same strategy had no advantageous effect for LabA, which using this protocol could be retrieved from the periplasm in relatively high yields (20-40 mg/L). © 2022. Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


Vasiliki Paraskevopoulou, Mohammed Alissa, Naim Hage, Franco H Falcone. Introduction of a Hexalysine (6 K) Tag Can Protect from N-Terminal Cleavage and Increase Yield of Recombinant Proteins Expressed in the Periplasm of E. coli. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.). 2022;2406:155-167

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PMID: 35089556

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