Publication Details

Dabbs, R. & Wilson, M. R. (2014). Expression and purification of chaperone-active recombinant clusterin. PLoS One, 9 (1), e86989-1-e86989-10.


Clusterin was the first described secreted mammalian chaperone and is implicated as being a key player in both intra- and extracellular proteostasis. Its unique combination of structural features and biological chaperone activity has, however, previously made it very challenging to express and purify the protein in a correctly processed and chaperone-active form. While there are multiple reports in the literature describing the use of recombinant clusterin, all of these reports suffer from one or more of the following shortcomings: details of the methods used to produce the protein are poorly described, the product is incompletely (if at all) characterised, and purity (if shown) is in many cases inadequate. The current report provides the first well validated method to economically produce pure chaperone-active recombinant clusterin. The method was developed after trialling expression in cultured bacterial, yeast, insect and mammalian cells, and involves the expression of recombinant clusterin from stably transfected HEK293 cells in protein-free medium. The product is expressed at between 7.5 and 10 µg/ml of culture, and is readily purified by a combination of immunoaffinity, cation exchange and size exclusion chromatography. The purified product was shown to be glycosylated, correctly proteolytically cleaved into α- and β-subunits, and have chaperone activity similar to that of human plasma clusterin. This new method creates the opportunity to use mutagenesis and metabolic labelling approaches in future studies to delineate functionally important sites within clusterin, and also provides a theoretically unlimited supply of recombinant clusterin which may in the future find applications in the development of therapeutics.

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