, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 213-223

High-level expression of recombinant human FK-binding protein from a fusion precursor

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The human peptidyl-prolyl isomerase FK-binding protein (FKBP) was cloned as a fusion partner with CMP-KDO synthetase (CKS), and the resultant construct was characterized as an improved high-expression source for FKBP. The CKS-FKBP fusion was expressed as a soluble protein at levels approaching 1 gm/L inEscherichia coli fermentations. The fusion protein was purified to near homogeneity by a one-step ammonium sulfate fractionation of whole cell lysate. After selective cleavage, the fusion precursor produced yields approaching 300 mg of purified FKBP per liter of harvested culture, a ∼30 to 60-fold increase over that observed for a nonfusion construct. Selective cleavage of the fusion partners was accomplished using either hydroxylamine or specific, limited proteolysis. Once separated from the CKS fusion partner, the FKBP was isolated in a single step by either reversed-phase HPLC or chromatography on Q-Sepharose. For comparison of physical and chemical properties, a nonfusion construct of recombinant human FKBP was expressed inE. coli and isolated. The purified FKBPs exhibited expected SDS-PAGE molecular weights and N-terminal sequences. The proteins had similar proton NMR spectra and binding to [3H]FK-506. The fusion construct, CKS-FKBP, was also found to bind [3H]FK-506. These data indicate that FKBP fused to the C-terminus of CKS folds independently of the fusion partner and suggests the fused FKBP adopts a conformation resembling that of the native protein.