Purification of E. coli Proteins Using a Self-Cleaving Chitin-Binding Affinity Tag

  • Michael J. Coolbaugh
  • David W. WoodEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1177)


The use of affinity tags to purify recombinant proteins is ubiquitous in molecular biology. However, tag removal after purification still remains a challenge. The most commonly used method, proteolytic digestion, has several drawbacks that make the process complex and costly. One alternative to the use of proteolytic digestion is the use of self-cleaving purification tags. Here, we describe a system that combines a chitin-binding domain (CBD) tag with the ∆I-CM intein to yield a self-cleaving purification tag. A protein gene of interest is genetically fused downstream of the tag, generating a fusion protein that can be rapidly and easily purified using a chitin resin. Intein self-cleavage is then induced by a simple pH and temperature shift, liberating the free target protein. This system can be used to readily purify any recombinant protein that can be expressed in E. coli, and has the potential to be applied to a wide variety of additional tags and expression hosts.

Key words

Protein purification Intein Affinity chromatography Self-cleaving tag E. coli Purification platform Chitin binding domain 



This work was supported by Army Research Office Grant W911NF-11-1-0118.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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