Characterization and autoprocessing of precursor and mature forms of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV 1) protease purified from Escherichia coli
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A recombinant plasmid encompassing the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV 1) protease coding sequence and flanking regions (Ala-13 to Gly-185 of the pol open reading frame) has been expressed in two distinct strains of Escherichia coli, AR58 and AR68. In the first strain, AR58, the primary translation product, a 25 kilodalton (kDa) precursor protein, is short-lived and rapidly processes itself to the 11 kDa mature protease in vivo. In the second strain, AR68, the 25 kDa species is only partially processed, and it, a 13 kDa intermediate, and the mature 11 kDa enzyme accumulate at a ratio of 3:4.5:2.5, respectively. The 11 kDa mature protease from AR58 and the 25 kDa precursor from AR68 have been purified to homogeneity. The yield of 11 kDa enzyme from AR58 is approximately 0.02 mg/g wet weight of E. coli cell pellet. The protease has both the expected NH2- and COOH-terminal sequences. The yield of 25 kDa enzyme from AR68 is approximately 0.1 mg/g wet weight of E. coli cell pellet. In vitro, the 25 kDa precursor enzyme rapidly (t1/2 approximately equal to 9 min) processes itself into a species with a mass of approximately 13 kDa and a species with a mass of approximately 11 kDa. Both of these latter species can be separated by RP-HPLC, have the NH2-terminal sequence expected for the mature protease, and are active. The 11 kDa enzyme from AR58 comigrates with the 11 kDa enzyme from AR68 on RP-HPLC and SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. On extended incubation at 4 degrees C at either neutral or acidic pH all species of the protein exhibit further autodegradation at defined sequences. The availability of the mature, 11 kDa enzyme and the 25 kDa precursor will allow biochemical and physical studies on this critical viral enzyme.
author list (cited authors)
Strickler, J. E., Gorniak, J., Dayton, B., Meek, T., Moore, M., Magaard, V., Malinowski, J., & Debouck, C.