Protein expression and purification vol:31 issue:2 pages:188-196
The last decade, a new scrine protease inhibitor family has been described in arthropods. Eight members were purified from the locusts Locusta migratoria (LMPI-1-2 and HI) and Schistocerca gregaria (SGPI-1-5) and 11 additional locust peptides were identified by cDNA cloning. Furthermore, the light chain of the 155-kDa heterodimeric protease inhibitor pacifastin, from the freshwater crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus, was found to be composed of nine consecutive inhibitory domains (PLDs). These domains share a pattern of 6 conserved cysteine residues (Cys-Xaa(9-12)-Cys-Asn-Xaa-Cys-Xaa-Cys-Xaa(2-3)-Gly-Xaa(3-4)-Cys-Thr-Xaa(3)-Cys) with the locust inhibitors. So far, for most of the PLD-related peptides the biological functions remain obscure. To obtain sufficient amounts of material to perform physiological experiments, we have optimised the production of SGPI-1-2 via a bacterial (Escherichia coli) expression system. The cDNA sequences encoding these peptides were inserted in the pMAL-2pX vector, downstream of the gene encoding the maltose-binding protein (including a signal peptide). As a consequence, both peptides were expressed as fusion proteins (2-3 mg/l) and targeted to the periplasmic space. Following a one-step affinity purification, both fusion proteins were successfully cleaved by Factor Xa and after a methanol extraction, it took only one additional RP-HPLC run to purify both peptides to homogeneity. Finally, the formation of the disulphide bridges and the biological activity of the recombinant peptides were verified by mass spectrometry and a spectrophotometric protease inhibitor assay, respectively. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.