Escherichia coli is widely employed to produce recombinant proteins because this microorganism is simple to manipulate, inexpensive to culture, and of short duration to produce a recombinant protein. However, contamination of molecular chaperone DnaK during purification of the recombinant protein is sometimes a problem, since DnaK sometimes has a negative effect on subsequent experiments. Previously, several efforts have been done to remove the DnaK contaminants by several sequential chromatography or washing with some expensive chemicals such as ATP. Here, we developed a simple and inexpensive method to express and purify recombinant proteins based on an E. coli dnaK-deletion mutant. The E. coli ΔdnaK52 mutant was infected by λDE3 phage to overexpress desired recombinant proteins under the control of T7 promoter. Using this host cell, recombinant hexa histidine-tag fused GrpE, which is well known as a co-chaperone for DnaK and to strongly interact with DnaK, was overexpressed and purified by one-step nickel affinity chromatography. As a result, highly purified recombinant GrpE was obtained without washing with ATP. The purified recombinant GrpE showed a folded secondary structure and a dimeric structure as previous findings. In vitro ATPase activity assay and luciferase-refolding activity assay demonstrated that the recombinant GrpE worked together with DnaK. Thus, this developed method would be rapid and useful for expression and purification of recombinant proteins which is difficult to remove DnaK contaminants.
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