Journal of Biomolecular NMR

, Volume 62, Issue 2, pp 169–177 | Cite as

Auto-inducing media for uniform isotope labeling of proteins with 15N, 13C and 2H

  • Nicolas Guthertz
  • Julia Klopp
  • Aurélie Winterhalter
  • César Fernández
  • Alvar D. GossertEmail author


Auto-inducing media for protein expression offer many advantages like robust reproducibility, high yields of soluble protein and much reduced workload. Here, an auto-inducing medium for uniform isotope labelling of proteins with 15N, 13C and/or 2H in E. coli is presented. So far, auto-inducing media have not found widespread application in the NMR field, because of the prohibitively high cost of labeled lactose, which is an essential ingredient of such media. Here, we propose using lactose that is only selectively labeled on the glucose moiety. It can be synthesized from inexpensive and readily available substrates: labeled glucose and unlabeled activated galactose. With this approach, uniformly isotope labeled proteins were expressed in unattended auto-inducing cultures with incorporation of 13C, 15N of 96.6 % and 2H, 15N of 98.8 %. With the present protocol, the NMR community could profit from the many advantages that auto-inducing media offer.


Auto-induction Protein expression Isotope labeling NMR Deuteration 13C-labeling Lactose 



We thank Patrick Graff for excellent support with mass spectrometry and Jean-Michel Rondeau for helpful discussions.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standard

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Structural BiologyInstitute of Cancer ResearchLondonUK
  2. 2.Novartis Institutes for BioMedical ResearchBaselSwitzerland

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