Engineered Chimera Protein Constructs to Facilitate the Production of Heterologous Transmembrane Proteins in E. coli

Abstract

To delve into the structure–function relationship of transmembrane proteins (TMPs), robust protocols are needed to produce them in a pure, stable, and functional state. Among all hosts that express heterologous TMPs, E. coli has the lowest cost and fastest turnover. However, many of the TMPs expressed in E. coli are misfolded. Several strategies have been developed to either direct the foreign TMPs to E. coli’s membrane or retain them in a cytosolic soluble form to overcome this deficiency. Here, we summarize protein engineering methods to produce chimera constructs of the desired TMPs fused to either a signal peptide or precursor maltose binding protein (pMBP) to direct the entire construct to the periplasm, therefore depositing the fused TMP in the plasma membrane. We further describe strategies to produce TMPs in soluble form by utilizing N-terminally fused MBP without a signal peptide. Depending on its N- or C-terminus location, a fusion to apolipoprotein AI can either direct the TMP to the membrane or shield the hydrophobic regions of the TMP, maintaining the soluble form. Strategies to produce G-protein-coupled receptors, TMPs of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, HIV-1 Vpu, and other TMPs are discussed. This knowledge could increase the scope of TMPs’ expression in E. coli.

Description

© 2024 by the authors. cc-by

Keywords

E. coli expression host of heterologous transmembrane proteins, protein engineering, soluble transmembrane proteins, transmembrane protein fusion strategies

Citation

Ogunbowale, A., & Georgieva, E.R.. 2024. Engineered Chimera Protein Constructs to Facilitate the Production of Heterologous Transmembrane Proteins in E. coli. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 25(4). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25042354

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