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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Construction of a general vector for efficient expression of mammalian proteins in bacteria: use of a synthetic ribosome binding site.

With the premise that mRNAs transcribed in Escherichia coli from cloned eukaryotic DNA inserts do not possess the necessary regulatory signals for recognition by prokaryotic ribosomes, we have constructed a general plasmid vector carrying a chemically synthesized prokaryotic ribosome binding site that will ensure the efficient expression of eukaryotic proteins in E. coli. In addition to the regulatory signals necessary for ribosome recognition, the synthetic segment contains, at one end, a Pst I cleavage site which will direct its insertion to pBR322 DNA and, at the other end, a HindIII site to facilitate attachment of the passenger eukaryotic gene. Using simian virus 40 (SV40) tumor (t) antigen as a model system, we have ligated the SV40 DNA fragment containing the entire t antigen gene in tandem with the synthetic ribosome binding site to pBR322 DNA at the Pst I site, which lies within the coding sequence of the beta-lactamase gene. Initiation of transcription at the beta-lactamase promoter would produce a chimeric mRNA with the synthetic ribosome binding signals and the SV40 sequence flanked by beta-lactamase coding sequences. Utilization of the synthetic regulatory signals for initiation of translation is demonstrated by the efficient synthesis, in bacterial transformants, of authentic SV40 t antigen. Excision of the entire SV40 insert by HindIII from those clones that have retained intact HindIII sites at the junction between the ribosome binding site and the SV40 sequence would allow insertion of other heterologous DNAs by using HindIII linkers. The efficient expression of any DNA insert would require that the entire coding sequence be contiguous and that its termini be randomized by treatment with exonuclease III and nuclease S1 to vary the distance between the translational initiation codon and the synthetic ribosome binding site.[1]


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