Main content area

High-level soluble expression of bioactive porcine myostatin propeptide in E. coli

Haq, Wing Yeung, Kang, Sang Kee, Lee, Sang Beum, Kang, Hee Chul, Choi, Yun Jaie, Lee, Chin Nyean, Kim, Yong Soo
Applied microbiology and biotechnology 2013 v.97 no.19 pp. 8517-8527
Escherichia coli, affinity chromatography, amylose, anion exchange, bioactive properties, cell culture, digestion, experimental design, muscles, myostatin, proteinases, proteins, proteolysis, reporter genes, resins, skeletal muscle, swine
Myostatin (MSTN) is a potent negative regulator of skeletal muscle mass. The activity of MSTN is suppressed by MSTN propeptide (MSTNPro), the N-terminal part of unprocessed MSTN that is cleaved off during posttranslational MSTN processing. Easy availability of MSTNPro would help to investigate the potential of the protein as an agent to enhance muscle growth in agricultural animal species. Thus, this study was designed to produce bioactive wild-type porcine MSTN propeptide (pMSTNProW) and its mutated form at the BMP-1/TLD proteolytic cleavage site (pMSTNProM) in Escherichia coli. The pMSTNProW and pMSTNProM genes were separately cloned into pMAL-c5X vector downstream of the maltose-binding protein (MBP) gene and were transformed and expressed in soluble forms in E. coli. For each milliliter of cell culture, about 40 μg of soluble MBP-pMSTNProW and MBP-pMSTNProM proteins were purified by amylose resin affinity chromatography. Further purification by anion exchange chromatography of the affinity-purified fractions yielded about 10 μg/mL culture of MBP-pMSTNProW and MBP-pMSTNProM proteins. Factor Xa protease cleaved the fusion partner MBP from MBP-pMSTNPro proteins, and approximately 4.2 μg of pMSTNProW and pMSTNProM proteins were purified per milliliter of culture. MBP-pMSTNProM was resistant to digestion by BMP-1 metalloproteinase, while MBP-pMSTNProW was cleaved into two fragments by BMP-1. Both MBP-pMSTNProW and MBP-pMSTNProM demonstrated their MSTN binding affinities in a pulldown assay. In an in vitro gene reporter assay, both proteins inhibited MSTN bioactivity without a significant difference in their inhibitory capacities, indicating that the cell culture-based gene reporter assay has limitation in detecting the true in vivo biological potencies of mutant forms of MSTNPro proteins at the BMP-1/TLD cleavage site. Current results show that a high-level production of bioactive porcine MSTNpro is possible in E. coli, and it remains to be investigated whether the administration of the MSTNpro can improve skeletal muscle growth in pigs via suppression of MSTN activity in vivo.