Enhancing multiple disulfide bonded protein folding in a cell-free system


  • Abbreviations: DTNB, 5,5′-dithionitrobenzoic acid; IAM, iodoacetamide; GSH, reduced glutathione; GSSG, oxidized glutathione; PEG, Polyethylene Glycol; TCA, trichloroacetic acid; tPA, tissue type plasminogen activator; vtPA, truncated tPA.


A recombinant plasminogen activator (PA) protein with nine disulfide bonds was expressed in our cell-free protein synthesis system. Due to the unstable and reducing environment in the initial E. coli-based cell-free system, disulfide bonds could not be formed efficiently. By treating the cell extract with iodoacetamide and utilizing a mixture of oxidized and reduced glutathione, a stabilized redox potential was optimized. Addition of DsbC, replacing polyethylene glycol with spermidine and putrescine to create a more natural environment, adding Skp, an E. coli periplasmic chaperone, and expressing PA at 30°C increased the solubility of the protein product as well as the yield of active PA. Taken together, the modifications enabled the production of more than 60 μg/mL of bioactive PA in a simple 3-h batch reaction. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.