Protein Expression and Purification


Klin Onkol 2014; 27(Suppl 1): 92-98. DOI: 10.14735/amko20141S92.


Production of recombinant proteins is essential for many applications in both basic research and also in medicine, where recombinant proteins are used as pharmaceuticals. This review summarizes procedures involved in recombinant protein expression and purification, including molecular cloning of target genes into expression vectors, selection of the appropriate expres sion system, and protein purification techniques. Recombinant DNA technology allows protein engineering to modify protein stability, activity and function or to facilitate protein purification by affinity tag fusions. A wide range of cloning systems enabling fast and eff ective design of expression vectors is currently available. A fi rst choice of protein expression system is usually the bacteria Escherichia coli. The main advantages of this prokaryotic expression system are low cost and simplicity; on the other hand this system is often unsuitable for production of complex mammalian proteins. Protein expression mediated by eukaryotic cells (yeast, insect and mammalian cells) usually produces properly folded and posttranslationally modified proteins. How ever, cultivation of insect and, especially, mammalian cells is time consuming and expensive. Affinity tagged recombinant proteins are purified efficiently using affinity chromatography. An affinity tag is a protein or peptide that mediates specific binding to a chromatography column, unbound proteins are removed during a washing step and pure protein is subsequently eluted.

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