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Bulletin of the Korean Chemical Society (BKCS)

ISSN 0253-2964(Print)
ISSN 1229-5949(Online)
Volume 28, Number 12
BKCSDE 28(12)
December 20, 2007 

Expressed Protein Ligation of 5-Enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate (EPSP) Synthase: An Application to a Protein Expressed as an Inclusion Body
Hak Jun Kim*, Hee Jae Shin, Hyun Woo Kim, Sung-Ho Kang, Young Tae Kim
Expressed protein ligation, Intein, 5-Enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase, Methionine aminopeptidase
Expressed protein ligation (EPL) technique, joining recombinantly expressed proteins to polypeptides, has been widely adopted for addressing various biological questions and for drug discovery. However, joining two recombinant proteins together is sometimes difficult when proteins are expressed insoluble and unrefoldable, because ligation-active proteins via intein-fusion are obtainable when they are folded correctly. We overcame this limitation coexpressing target protein with additional methionine aminopeptidase (MAP) which enhances removal of the initiation methionine of recombinantly expressed protein. Our approach demonstrated that two domains of 46 kDa 5-Enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate (EPSP) synthase, a target of herbicide glyphosate, were successfully joined by native chemical ligation, although its C-terminal domain was expressed as an inclusion body. The intein-fused N-terminal fragment of EPSP synthase (EPSPSN, residues 1-237) was expressed and the ligation-active thioester tagged N-terminal fragment (EPSPSN-thioester) was purified using a chitin affinity chromatography and mercapto-ethanesulphonate (MESNA) as intein thiolysis reagent. Its Cterminal fragment (EPSPSC, residues Met237-238CYS-427), expressed as an inclusion body, was prepared from an additional MAP-expressing strain. Protein ligation was initiated by mixing ~1 mM of EPSPSN-thioester with ~2 mM of EPSPSCCYS (residues 238CYS-427). Also we found that addition of 2% thiophenol increased the ligation efficiency via thiol exchange. The ligation efficiency was ~85%. The ligated full-length EPSP synthase was dissolved in 6 M GdHCl and refolded. Circular dichroism (CD) and enzyme activity assay of the purified protein showed that the ligated enzyme has distinct secondary structure and ~115% specific activity compared to those of wild-type EPSP synthase. This work demonstrates rare example of EPL between two recombinantly expressed proteins and also provides hands-on protein engineering protocol for large proteins.
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