pUC18 and pUC19 are well-known high copy-number plasmid vectors routinely used for DNA cloning purposes. We show here that, in Escherichia coli transformed by native pUC18, the α-complementation of β-galactosidase (i.e., mediated by the peptide LacZα18) is intrinsically weak and slow, but is greatly stimulated by the DnaK/DnaJ/GrpE chaperone system. In contrast, the α-complementation mediated by the peptide LacZα19 (in E. coli transformed by the native pUC19) is much more efficient and therefore does not require the assistance of the DnaK chaperone machinery. The marked difference between these two LacZα peptides is reproduced in a cell-free protein expression system coupled with α-complementation. We conclude that: (i) α-complementation of β-galactosidase is DnaK-mediated depending upon the LacZα peptide donor; (ii) DnaK, sensu stricto, is not necessary for α-complementation, but can enhance it to a great extent; (iii) this observation could be used to establish an easy and inexpensive method for screening small molecules libraries in search of DnaK inhibitors and also for deciphering the DnaK-mediated protein quality control mechanism.
- chaperone DnaK
- plasmids pUC18/pUC19
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology