Expression of the class 1 outer-membrane protein of Neisseria meningitidis in Escherichia coli and purification using a self-cleavable affinity tag

Holly E. Humphries*, Myron Christodoulides, John E. Heckels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The class 1 protein (PorA) is a major component of the outer membrane of Neisseria meningitidis and functions as a cationic porin. The protein is particularly effective in generating a bactericidal immune response following infection and is therefore under investigation as a potential antigen for inclusion in new meningococcal vaccines. Studies on the vaccine potential of PorA would be facilitated by the production of pure protein, free from other components of the meningococcal outer membrane. In the current study, PorA was expressed from the heterologous host Escherichia coli as a C-terminal fusion to an inducible protein-splicing element (intein) with an N-terminal chitin-binding domain (CBD) (IMPACT-TWIN system). The CBD acted as an affinity tag and allowed binding of the fusion protein to a chitin bead column, after which self-cleavage of the intein at its C-terminus was induced, resulting in the release of mature PorA. Cleavage of the fusion protein was temperature- and time-dependent, and was optimal at pH 7.0 after 5 days of storage at 4°C. Efficient cleavage was also dependent on the addition of a minimal amino acid sequence (Gly-Arg-Ala) to the N-terminus of the mature PorA protein. This represented a significant improvement on the large N-terminal sequences introduced by other expression systems previously used to prepare recombinant PorA, and the yields of PorA purified with the IMPACT-TWIN system were similar. Thus, the IMPACT-TWIN system provides a facile method for producing recombinant PorA and may also be useful for the production of other bacterial outer-membrane proteins for vaccine studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-248
Number of pages6
JournalProtein Expression and Purification
Volume26
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work in this study was supported by The Meningitis Trust and the University of Southampton Strategic Development Fund.

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