UNIT 5.19 Overview on the Expression of Toxic Gene Products in Escherichia coli

  1. Fakhri Saïda

Published Online: 1 NOV 2007

DOI: 10.1002/0471140864.ps0519s50

Current Protocols in Protein Science

Current Protocols in Protein Science

How to Cite

Saïda, F. 2007. Overview on the Expression of Toxic Gene Products in Escherichia coli. Current Protocols in Protein Science. 50:5.19:5.19.1–5.19.13.

Author Information

  1. University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 NOV 2007
  2. Published Print: NOV 2007


Despite the development of various nonbacterial expression systems, Escherichia coli (E. coli) remains the host of choice for recombinant protein expression. Its culture is simple, fast, inexpensive, and highly efficient (tens of milligrams of pure proteins are typically obtained within 48 hours using as little as 1 liter of culture). Unfortunately, many toxic genes (from various organisms) severely interfere with the physiology of E. coli. As a result, expression yields are dramatically diminished, and sometimes abolished. In fact, some genes are so toxic that E. coli cannot maintain their expression vector during the growth phase (the phase during which recombinant gene expression is presumably repressed). Therefore, modified expression vectors, modified E. coli strains, and appropriate cultivation protocols are needed. This overview discusses several special strategies successfully used to express toxic genes in E. coli. Curr. Protoc. Protein Sci. 50:5.19.1-5.19.13. © 2007 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • toxic genes;
  • expression;
  • E. coli