Expression, reactivation, and purification of enzymes from Haloferax volcanii in Escherichia coli

H. Connaris, J.B. Chaudhuri, M.J. Danson, D.W. Hough

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46 Citations (Scopus)


Enzymes from extreme halophiles have potential as catalysts in biotransformations. We have developed methods for the expression in Escherichia coli and purification of two enzymes from Haloferax volcanii: dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase and citrate synthase. Both enzymes were expressed in E. coli using the cytoplasmic expression vectors, pET3a and pET3d. Citrate synthase was soluble and inactive, whereas dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase was expressed as inclusion bodies. Citrate synthase was reactivated following overnight incubation in 2 M KCl, and dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase was refolded by solubilisation in 8 M urea followed by dilution into a buffer containing 2 M KCl, 10 μM FAD, 1 mM NAD, and 0.3 mM GSSG/3 mM GSH. Maximal activity was obtained after 3 days incubation at 4°C. Purification of the two active enzymes was carried out using high-resolution methods. Dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase was purified using copper-based metal-ion affinity chromatography in the presence of 2 M KCl. Citrate synthase was recovered using dye-affinity chromatography in the presence of salt. A high yield of active enzyme was obtained in both cases. Following purification, characterisation of both recombinant proteins showed that their kinetics and salt-dependence were comparable to those of the native enzymes. Expression of active protein was attempted both by growth of E. coli in the presence of salt and betaine, and also by using periplasmic expression vectors in combination with a high salt growth media. Neither strategy was successful.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-45
Number of pages8
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 1999


  • Halophiles
  • Citrate synthase
  • Dihiydrolipoamide dehydrogenase
  • Expression
  • Refolding
  • Purification


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