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

Semisynthesis of cytotoxic proteins using a modified protein splicing element.

Two cytotoxic proteins, bovine pancreatic ribonuclease A (RNase A), and a restriction endonuclease from Haemophilus parainfluenzae (HpaI), were produced using a novel semisynthetic approach that utilizes a protein splicing element, an intein, to generate a reactive thioester at the C-terminus of a recombinant protein. Nucleophilic attack on this thioester by the N-terminal cysteine of a synthetic peptide ultimately leads to the ligation of the two reactants through a native peptide bond. This strategy was used to produce RNase A and HpaI by isolating inactive truncated forms of these proteins, the first 109 and 223 amino acids of RNase A and HpaI, respectively, as fusion proteins consisting of the target protein, an intein, and a chitin binding domain. Thiol-induced cleavage of the precursor led to the liberation of the target protein with a C-terminal thioester-tag. Addition of synthetic peptides representing the amino acids missing from the truncated forms led to the generation of full-length products that displayed catalytic activity indicative of the wild-type enzymes. The turnover numbers and Km for ligated and renatured RNase A were 8.2 s(-1) and 1.5 mM, in good agreement with reported values of 8.3 s(-1) and 1.2 mM (Hodges & Merrifield, 1975). Ligated HpaI had a specific activity of 0.5-1.5 x 10(6) U/mg, which compared favorably with the expected value of 1-2 x 10(6) U/mg (J. Benner, unpubl. obs.). Besides assisting in the production of cytotoxic proteins, this technique could allow the easy insertion of unnatural amino acids into a protein sequence.[1]

References

  1. Semisynthesis of cytotoxic proteins using a modified protein splicing element. Evans, T.C., Benner, J., Xu, M.Q. Protein Sci. (1998) [Pubmed]
 
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