A new vector for high-throughput, ligation-independent cloning encoding a tobacco etch virus protease cleavage site

Protein Expr Purif. 2002 Jun;25(1):8-15. doi: 10.1006/prep.2001.1603.


To establish high-throughput methods for protein crystallography, all aspects of the production and analysis of protein crystals must be accelerated. Automated, plate-based methods for cloning, expression, and evaluation of target proteins will help researchers investigate the vast numbers of proteins now available from sequenced genomes. Ligation-independent cloning (LIC) is well suited to robotic cloning and expression, but few LIC vectors are available commercially. We have developed a new LIC vector, pMCSG7, that incorporates the tobacco etch virus (TEV) protease cleavage site into the leader sequence. This protease is highly specific and functions under a wide range of conditions. The new vector incorporates an N-terminal his-tag followed by the TEV protease recognition site and a SspI restriction site used for LIC. The vector functioned as expected, giving high cloning efficiencies and strong expression of proteins. Purification and cleavage of a target protein showed that the his-tag and the TEV cleavage site function properly. The protein was purified and cleaved under different conditions to simulate both plate-based screening methods and large-scale purifications for crystal production. The vector also includes a pair of adjacent, unique restriction sites that will allow insertion of additional modules between the his-tag and the cleavage site of the leader sequence to generate a family of vectors suitable for high-throughput production of proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Endopeptidases / genetics*
  • Genetic Vectors*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasmids / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary


  • Endopeptidases
  • TEV protease