Journal of biomedical science

Expression of foreign antigens on the surface of Escherichia coli by fusion to the outer membrane protein traT.

PMID 9933744


The traT gene is one of the F factor transfer genes and encodes an outer membrane protein which is involved in interactions between an Escherichia coli and its surroundings. This protein was altered so as to permit the expression of foreign proteins on the outer membrane of E. coli in this study. A 729-bp DNA fragment, including the leader and entire structural gene sequence of traT, was amplified and obtained by PCR. This sequence was then subcloned downstream of the tac promoter of pDR540, resulting in a TraT expression vector, pT2. Here, we report that the expression of TraT protein, fused either with a partial pre-S antigen of hepatitis B virus (60 and 98 amino acids, respectively) or with the snake venom rhodostomin (72 amino acids), was successfully achieved on the outer membrane of E. coli, using the pT2 plasmid. This result was demonstrated using dot blot and immunofluorescence analysis. This finding supports the notion that the pT2 plasmid can be used as an E. coli display system. This system can detect a foreign peptide of about 100 amino acid residues in length on the bacterial surface.