Active protein aggregates produced in Escherichia coli

Int J Mol Sci. 2011;12(11):8275-87. doi: 10.3390/ijms12118275. Epub 2011 Nov 22.


Since recombinant proteins are widely used in industry and in research, the need for their low-cost production is increasing. Escherichia coli is one of the best known and most often used host organisms for economical protein production. However, upon over-expression, protein aggregates called inclusion bodies (IBs) are often formed. Until recently IBs formation represented a bottleneck in protein production as they were considered as deposits of inactive proteins. However, recent studies show that by choosing the appropriate host strain and designing an optimal production process, IBs composed from properly folded and biologically active recombinant proteins can be prepared. Such active protein particles can be further used for the isolation of pure proteins or as whole active protein particles in various biomedical and other applications. Therefore interest in understanding the mechanisms of their formation as well as their properties is increasing.

Keywords: E. coli; IBs; active protein aggregates; inclusion bodies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Inclusion Bodies / metabolism*
  • Protein Aggregates*
  • Recombinant Proteins / biosynthesis*


  • Protein Aggregates
  • Recombinant Proteins