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

The in vitro ligation of bacterially expressed proteins using an intein from Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum.

The smallest known intein, found in the ribonucleoside diphosphate reductase gene of Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum (Mth RIR1 intein), was found to splice poorly in Escherichia coli with the naturally occurring proline residue adjacent to the N-terminal cysteine of the intein. Splicing proficiency increased when this proline was replaced with an alanine residue. However, constructs that displayed efficient N- and C-terminal cleavage were created by replacing either the C-terminal asparagine or N-terminal cysteine of the intein, respectively, with an alanine. Furthermore, these constructs were used to specifically generate complementary reactive groups on protein sequences for use in ligation reactions. Reaction between an intein-generated C-terminal thioester on E. coli maltose-binding protein (43 kDa) and an intein-generated cysteine at the N terminus of either T4 DNA ligase (56 kDa) or thioredoxin (12 kDa) resulted in the ligation of the proteins through a native peptide bond. Thus the smallest of the known inteins is capable of splicing and its unique properties extend the utility of intein-mediated protein ligation to include the in vitro fusion of large, bacterially expressed proteins.[1]


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