Tobacco Etch Virus protease: A shortcut across biotechnologies

J Biotechnol. 2016 Aug 10;231:239-249. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2016.06.012. Epub 2016 Jun 13.


About thirty years ago, studies on the RNA genome of Tobacco Etch Virus revealed the presence of an efficient and specific protease, called Tobacco Etch Virus protease (TEVp), that was part of the Nuclear Inclusion a (NIa) enzyme. TEVp is an efficient and specific protease of 27kDa that has become a valuable biotechnological tool. Nowadays TEVp is a unique endopeptidase largely exploited in biotechnology from industrial applications to in vitro and in vivo cellular studies. A number of TEVp mutants with different rate of cleavage, stability and specificity have been reported. Similarly, a panel of different target cleavage sites, derived from the canonical ENLYFQ-G/S site, has been established. In this review we describe these aspects of TEVp and some of its multiple applications. A particular focus is on the use and molecular biology of TEVp in living cells and organisms.

Keywords: In vivo applications; Protein engineering; Self-cleavage; Split-TEV; Subcellular targeting; TEV protease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biotechnology / methods*
  • Endopeptidases*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Protein Engineering / methods*


  • Endopeptidases
  • TEV protease