Improved Production and Biophysical Analysis of Recombinant Silicatein-α

Emily I. Sparkes, Rachel A. Kettles, Chisom S. Egedeuzu, Natalie L. Stephenson, Stephanie A. Caslin, S. Yasin Tabatabaei Dakhili, Lu Shin Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Silicatein-α is a hydrolase found in siliceous sea sponges with a unique ability to condense and hydrolyse silicon–oxygen bonds. The enzyme is thus of interest from the perspective of its unusual enzymology, and for potential applications in the sustainable synthesis of siloxane-containing compounds. However, research into this enzyme has previously been hindered by the tendency of silicatein-α towards aggregation and insolubility. Herein, we report the development of an improved method for the production of a trigger factor-silicatein fusion protein by switching the previous hexahistidine tag for a Strep-II tag, resulting in 244-fold improvement in protein yield compared to previous methods. Light scattering and thermal denaturation analyses show that under the best storage conditions, although oligomerisation is never entirely abolished, these nanoscale aggregates of the Strep-tagged protein exhibit improved colloidal stability and solubility. Enzymatic assays show that the Strep-tagged protein retains catalytic competency, but exhibits lower activity compared to the His6-tagged protein. These results suggest that the hexahistidine tag is capable of non-specific catalysis through their imidazole side chains, highlighting the importance of careful consideration when selecting a purification tag. Overall, the Strep-tagged fusion protein reported here can be produced to a higher yield, exhibits greater stability, and allows the native catalytic properties of this protein to be assessed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1209
Issue number9
Early online date20 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Improved Production and Biophysical Analysis of Recombinant Silicatein-α'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this