Expression, purification of recombinant cationic peptide AIK in Escherichia coli and its antitumor activity

Fangfang Fan1 Huiying Sun1 Hui Xu1 Jiawei Liu1 Haiyuan Zhang1 Yilan Li1 Xuelian Ning1 Yue Sun1 Jing Bai1 Songbin Fu1 Chunshui Zhou1

(1.Laboratory of Medical Genetics, Harbin Medical University, Harbin, Heilongjiang, China 150081)

【Abstract】AIK is a novel cationic peptide with potential antitumor activity. In order to construct the AIK expression vector by Gateway technology, and establish an optimal expression and purification method for recombinant AIK, a set of primers containing Att B sites were designed and used to create the Att B-TEV-FLAG-AIK fusion gene by overlapping PCR. The resulting fusion gene was cloned into the donor vector pDONR223 by att B and att P mediated recombination (BP reaction), then, transferred into the destination vector pDEST15 by att L and att R mediated recombination (LR reaction). All the cloning was verified by both colony PCR and DNA sequencing. The BL21 E. coli transformed by the GST-AIK expression plasmid was used to express the GST-AIK fusion protein with IPTG induction and the induction conditions were optimized. GST-AIK fusion protein was purified by glutathione magnetic beads, followed by rTEV cleavage to remove GST tag and MTS assay to test the growth inhibition activity of the recombinant AIK on human leukemia HL-60 cells. We found that a high level of soluble expression of GST-AIK protein (more than 30% out of the total bacterial proteins) was achieved upon 0.1 mmol/L ITPG induction for 4 h at 37 °C in the transformed BL21 E. coli with starting OD600 at 1.0. Through GST affinity purification and rTEV cleavage, the purity of the resulting recombinant AIK was greater than 95%. And the MTS assays on HL-60 cells confirmed that the recombinant AIK retains an antitumor activity at a level similar to the chemically synthesized AIK. Taken together, we have established a method for expression and purification of recombinant AIK with a potent activity against tumor cells, which will be beneficial for the large-scale production and application of recombinant AIK in the future.

【Keywords】 cationic peptide; site-specific recombination; GST fusion protein; inducible expression; affinity purification; antitumor activity;


【Funds】 National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81272582) National Natural Science Foundation of China(No.81272582)

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This Article



Vol 31, No. 12, Pages 1753-1763

December 2015


Article Outline



  • 1 Materials and methods
  • 2 Results
  • 3 Discussion
  • References