Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.105, No.20, 7889-7898, 2021
The expression, purification, and functional evaluation of the novel tumor suppressor fusion protein IL-24-CN
Interleukin-24 (IL-24) can specifically induce apoptosis in a broad range of cancer cells without harming normal cells. The interaction of contortrostatin (CN) with integrins on angiogenic vascular endothelial and tumor cells is modulated by the RGD motifs that can significantly inhibit metastasis and angiogenesis. To achieve superior therapeutic efficacy by combining anti-metastasis with tumor-selective apoptosis activity, CN was fused at the C-terminus of IL-24 with a flexible linker (G(4)S)(2), and the recombinant IL-24-CN was expressed in Escherichia coli as a Thioredoxin (Trx)/IL-24-CN fusion protein. The target protein was purified using nickel affinity chromatography. Furthermore, we simplified the purification process by purifying Trx-IL-24-CN and cleaving the Trx tag in one step. The final yield of IL-24-CN was 27.6 mg/L based on flask fermentation. In vitro activity assay demonstrated that the recombinant IL-24-CN could more effectively suppress tumor growth and induce apoptosis of melanoma cells. Scratch and transwell assays suggested that IL-24-CN strongly reduced the migration and invasion behavior of melanoma cells. Immunofluorescence analysis and cell adhesion assay showed that CN could evidently improve the tumor inhibition capability of IL-24 by enhancing the affinity of recombinant protein toward cancer cells. In summary, a highly efficient strategy was developed for producing the bioactive IL-24-CN from prokaryotic cells, supporting IL-24-CN in melanoma therapy.