Optimization of Soluble Expression and Purification of Recombinant Human Rhinovirus Type-14 3C Protease Using Statistically Designed Experiments: Isolation and Characterization of the Enzyme

Georgia Antoniou, Irineos Papakyriacou, Christos Papaneophytou

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Human rhinovirus (HRV) 3C protease is widely used in recombinant protein production for various applications such as biochemical characterization and structural biology projects to separate recombinant fusion proteins from their affinity tags in order to prevent interference between these tags and the target proteins. Herein, we report the optimization of expression and purification conditions of glutathione S-transferase (GST)-tagged HRV 3C protease by statistically designed experiments. Soluble expression of GST-HRV 3C protease was initially optimized by response surface methodology (RSM), and a 5.5-fold increase in enzyme yield was achieved. Subsequently, we developed a new incomplete factorial (IF) design that examines four variables (bacterial strain, expression temperature, induction time, and inducer concentration) in a single experiment. The new design called Incomplete Factorial-Strain/Temperature/Time/Inducer (IF-STTI) was validated using three GST-tagged proteins. In all cases, IF-STTI resulted in only 10% lower expression yields than those obtained by RSM. Purification of GST-HRV 3C was optimized by an IF design that examines simultaneously the effect of the amount of resin, incubation time of cell lysate with resin, and glycerol and DTT concentration in buffers, and a further 15% increase in protease recovery was achieved. Purified GST-HRV 3C protease was active at both 4 and 25 °C in a variety of buffers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-424
Number of pages18
JournalMolecular Biotechnology
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • Design of experiments
  • Incomplete factorial design
  • Recombinant proteins
  • Response surface methodology
  • Soluble protein expression

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